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Tuition fees in Sweden deterring non-E.U. students

 The number of international students enrolling at Swedish universities appears  to have fallen significantly following the introduction of tuition fees for non-  European Union students, a recent survey shows.

The report, issued last month by Sweden’s National Agency for Higher  Education, surveyed Swedish universities following the introduction of tuition  fees. It found that only 1,350 non-E.U. students began study in autumn 2011.

Gunnar Enequist, an analyst at the agency who worked on the report, said this  represented “roughly around a 70-80 percent decline” over the previous year,  though an exact comparison was not possible because previously precise  numbers of such students were not kept.

He said, however, that this large drop could be attributed partly to a surge in  the previous year, as some students rushed to enroll in 2010, the year before the fees were introduced. Swedish students as well as those from countries in the E.U. and the European Economic Area do not have to pay fees. The European Economic Area comprises the 27 E.U. states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The report noted that many universities felt that any benefit from collecting fees was low, compared with the cost of implementing the new fees, as many non-E.U. students had scholarships. Only 0.4 percent of the 348,000 students registered at Swedish universities paid full fees, the report said.

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