Main funding principles
Funding is allocated to adult education and training providers with variations within the formal and non-formal education and training systems. The main providers of adult education are municipalities (kommun), and in some cases county councils (region). Municipalities can provide adult education themselves or hand over tasks on contract to external education and training providers, such as private education companies, study associations (studieförbund) or folk high schools (folkhögskolor).
For more information on education providers within adult education and training, see chapter 8.3 Main providers
Formal adult education
Funding for local authorities
Municipal tax revenues are the the municipalities (kommun) main source of income. In addition to income taxes which finance a majority of municipal adult education (kommunal vuxenutbildning, Komvux), the municipalities also receive a state grant which is not earmarked for a specific activity and can be used for municipal adult education. The structural element of the grant is determined by several underlying factors such as the size of the population in the municipality, its age structure, population density, social structure and number of newly arrived immigrants. In the decentralised Swedish system, each municipality determines how it allocates resources and organises its activities based on the budget. The municipalities are obliged to provide their inhabitants with certain services, including municipal adult education. The actual provision of adult education can also be assured by independent providers.
Municipal adult education includes:
- Municipal adult education at both compulsory and upper secondary school levels.
- Special education for adults (särskild utbildning för vuxna, särvux)
- Swedish tuition for immigrants (svenska för invandrare, sfi)
Other authorities can provide adult education such as county councils (region). There are 150 folk high schools (folkhögskolor) and 10 study associations (studieförbund) in Sweden. 42 of these are run by county councils and regions and are in that so called publicly owned. The remaining 113 folk high schools are run within liberal adult education (folkbildning), a non-formal adult education form. There are more than one million students in liberal adult education each year.
Funding for labour market training
Labour market training (arbetsmarknadsutbildning) is provided by the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and is intended primarily for unemployed adults in need of retraining or further training and education.
The Swedish Public Employment Service recieves direct government funding for these training programmes. The management of these training programmes are then procured from external suppliers such as municipalities or private training providers.
Non-formal adult education
Funding for liberal adult education
As an alternative to municipal adult education adult learners can study within liberal adult education (folkbildning). Liberal adult education encompasses study forms characterised by great freedom in setting its own objectives such as study associations (studieförbund) and folk high schools (folkhögskolor). These organisers receive state grants, which are managed by the Swedish National Council of Adult Education (Folkbildningsrådet), a non-profit association with certain authoritative tasks delegated by the government and the parliament. The council submits budgetary documentation and annual reports to the government and follows up and evaluates adult education activities. In folk high schools these regular state grants are aimed at the core activities and additional contributions to special efforts.
In addition to state grants funding for liberal adult education can also come from municipalities and county councils.
Government initiatives and subsidies
From 2018 the government is investing 50 million SEK in recruitment for municipal adult education (kommunal vuxenutbildning) and special education for adults (särskild utbildning för vuxna, särvux).The state grants will be used to recruit more learners to municipal adult education and can be used to fund outreach activities, information, guidance and motivational efforts. The government has give the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) the assignment to allocate state grants by requisition from interested municipalities.
A government inquiry covering municipal adult education (SOU 2018:71) has examined the need for changes in the regulation of adult education with a focus on the areas municipal adult education (kommunal vuxenutbildning) and special education for adults (särskild utbildning för vuxna, särvux). The inquiry proposes several changes that would lead to a need for increased financing for the main governmental authorities within the education area such as the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) and the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen).
Fore more information about government initiatives and subsidies relating to funding, see chapter 14.3 National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning
Through the EU programme Erasmus+ organisations working with adult education can seek funding for exchanges and skills development to enhance the quality of teaching. With the funding staff can attend continuing professional development courses, conferences, job shadow or teach at a training organisation in another European country participating in the program. Organisations can apply for funding once every year.
EU funding and different EU projects also play a role in developing adult education on both a national as well as regional and local levels. An example is the European Social fund project Competence Arena Stockholm (2018-2020) which is an EU funded project that will strengthen and coordinate adult education. The project will develop methods, strategies and practices at a regional level to meet short and long-term skills supply.
The Swedish Council of Higher Education (Universitets- och högskolerådet)
Fees Paid by Learners
State and municipal adult education is grant aided and free of charge for the learner. Labour market training programmes receive grants from the state and are also free of charge for the learner.
The education or training organiser can decide to charge for learning aids. Private organisers often charge fees for training programmes. In some cases students can get study assistance to cover these fees.
In supplementary education, a fee is charged for the courses. The cost can vary depending on whether the course is government-subsidised or not. Some courses entitle a student to a study grant, others do not.
Financial Support for Adult Learners
The Swedish Board of Student Finance (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN) is responsible for the allocation of financial support for studies. CSN approves and distributes financial aid for studies: grants and loans. CSN also handles repayment of the loans. The main principle that determines the learnes right to funding that earlier studies are assessed for each new application.
Students in municipal adult education can apply for student aid, which consists of a grant and a loan. The total amount (grant and loan) is SEK 2 772 per full-time study week in 2022. The grant part is SEK 840. Students over the age of 25 can obtain a higher grant for studies at compulsory or upper secondary school level, or for attending vocational training at upper secondary level for adults. For students with children, there is also a possibility to receive extra child allowance. The extra child allowance is 159 - 419 SEK per week (2022) depending on the number of children. For more information on study assistance see 3.2 - Financial support for learners
Students at folk high schools (folkhögskolor) and advanced vocational education programmes are entitled to study support.
During labour market training, participants can receive financial support in form of a grant from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). If the participant is entitled to unemployment benefits, the grant corresponds to this amount.
Subsidies for private providers
Grant-aided private organisers of adult education
The task of providing adult education in the form of basic adult education, upper secondary adult education, and education for adults with learning disabilities, as well as Swedish tuition for immigrants, can be handed over by the municipalities and county councils to private organisers. The private actors in question have to have been admitted the authority to award grades and issue leaving certificates. Folk high schools with the right to award grades can provide Swedish tuition for immigrants. The private organisers and folk high schools are entitled to grants for such types of education.
Ministry of Education and Research (Utbildningsdepartamentet)
The Swedish Board of Student Finance (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN)
The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen)
Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan)
Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för Yrkeshögskolan)