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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education funding


3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 27 November 2023


Higher education at universities and university colleges is financed directly from the state budget. When higher education institutions receive allocations from the Ministry of Education and Research (Utbildningsdepartementet) for the first and second cycle education they receive the goals and framework for the coming budget/calendar year. The goals stipulate:

  • Targets for certain courses in terms of number of degrees over a four-year period, as well as planning forecasts for a four-year period
  • Targets for the number of full-time students in certain subject areas which are a national priority (at present in science and technology)
  • Maximum total remuneration, i.e. the maximum amount that may be generated by the number of full-time students and their performance for the budget year
  • Possible specific commitments that may require additional compensation

Final allocation of resources is dependent on the results achieved at each institution in terms of student numbers (converted to full-time annual student equivalents) as well as study performance (converted to annual performance). Higher education institutions are obliged to consider the special needs of students with physical disabilities. Each university and university college must set aside 0.3 percent of its first and second cycle grant for measures to assist students with physical disabilities. If the 0.3 percent is insufficient the institutions may apply for extra state subsidies.

Teachers at state universities and university colleges are appointed by the institutions and are state employees. Salaries at all institutions are individually negotiated between the staff member, the employer and a trade union.

Parallel with the state-funded institutions for higher education there is a number of independent higher education providers (enskilda utbildningsanordnare).

Contract education

Higher education institutions can tailor special education programmes commissioned by companies and organisations, i.e. contract education. This kind of training is offered in various forms and participants may be awarded credits and certificates. Contract education accounts for a relatively small part of higher education, however, the demand is growing and many institutions are establishing special units for this purpose. Foreign government authorities, companies and organisations may sign education contracts with Swedish universities and university colleges. Such agreements are the responsibility of the respective institution.

Financial Autonomy and Control

Remuneration Amount

Prior to each budget year, each higher education institution receives an appropriation with a maximum amount as well as compensation for specific extra commitments undertaken. The appropriation is preliminary since the final amount can be determined first at the end of the budget year when the actual achievements are presented to the Ministry of Education and Research in an annual report. An underachievement (too few students to reach the maximum remuneration) or an overachievement (more students than can be paid for within the maximum remuneration) up to +/- ten percent of the maximum remuneration may be moved over to the next fiscal year.

The remuneration amount for annual students and for annual performance achievements is determined each year in a governmental approval document. The amount varies depending on education area, but within the same area of education, the amount is the same irrespective of the institution. The remuneration amount includes all costs for first and second cycle higher education, including the cost for premises, equipment and furnishings.


The higher education institutions produce an annual report of their results as activities and financial outcomes for the budget year. Annual reports contain a profit and loss account, balance sheet, report on allocations and financial analysis, as well as results on the attainment of educational goals.

Fees within Public Higher Education

Higher education is free of charge; no tuition fees are levied on Swedish students. This means that higher education will remain free of charge for Swedish citizens and citizens of an EU/EEA state or Switzerland. Citizens of other countries ("third country students"), in contrast, pay a fee for their higher education as of the autumn term 2011. In parallel to the tuition fees for international students, two scholarship programmes targeted at fee-paying students are in place. 

  • No fees for Swedish/EU/EFTA/EEA full time and part-time students.
  • Other students pay fees. Higher education institutions determine the size of the fees, based on the principle of full cost coverage.
  • Swedish/EU/EFTA/EEA full time and part time students can be subject to tuition fees when taking part in international collaborations if the fees do not go to the Swedish institution and do not relate to the part of the education organised by the Swedish institution.

Financial Support for Learners' Families

No specific benefits are available to parents of higher education students since state student grants and student loans that are available for all students are supposed to cover all living costs. For students with children, there is a possibility to receive extra child allowance of about SEK 159 per week for one child and 260 per week for two children (2022).

Financial Support for Learners

Level of support and eligibility

Students who have been accepted by a university, university college or other post-secondary education and fulfil certain basic criteria have a right to student aid if they study at least half-time, for at least three weeks. Student aid consists of two parts: a grant and a repayable loan. A student can choose to apply only for the grant. Under certain conditions, a student may also be entitled to student aid for studies outside of Sweden. Under certain circumstances, the student may also be eligible to a supplementary loan. The upper age limit for study support is 60 years. The Swedish Board of Student Finance (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN) is responsible for the allocation of financial support for studies and its repayment.

  • Grants of SEK 840/week (2022)  for 40 weeksper year are universally available for full-time students during six years. Part-time students, studying at least 50 percent, are able to receive grants proportional to their pace of study. 
  • Loans of SEK 1 932/week (2022)  for 40 weeks per year are universally available for full time students during six years. 
  • Students with children can receive an extra grant of SEK 159 per week for one child or SEK 260 per week for two children (2022).
  • It is also possible for some students to receive further supplementary loans and loans for additional costs in connection to their studies. This concerns, for example, students with necessary additional costs for double housing, travel, musical instruments, study abroad, etc.
  • Students aged 25 or above may receive a supplementary loan. The supplementary loan is intended for those who earlier have had income from employment and aims to facilitate the transition between work and studies.

Study assistance for studies at HEI:s abroad may be granted to Swedish citizens and certain foreign citizens who may be entitled to study assistance through their EU citizenship or the EEA agreement. The main principle is that study outcomes from earlier studies should be assessed for every new application for study allowances. A certain income is allowed without a reduction of the study allowance.


Repayment of the study loan starts at the earliest in January six months after a student has graduated. The repayment period for the loan is normally 25 years or up to the year of the borrower's 60th birthday. The system is based on annuity loans, which means that the annual repayment increases by 2 percent each year, as long as interest rates are unchanged. There is a ‘safety clause’ whereby the amount to be paid each year can be reduced, depending on the borrower’s solvency. In such cases, the repayment amount is related to the borrower's income during the year in question. If the repayment is reduced one year, this means that the borrower will have to pay back a bigger amount the following years, since the loan still has to be paid back within 25 years.

The Swedish Board of Student Finance (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN)

Private Education

Parallel with the state higher education institutions there is a number of independent higher education providers (enskilda utbildningsanordnare). These independent institutions get governmental grants and cannot charge tuition fees. 

The grant-aided independent institutions base their work on an agreement with the government and are obliged to follow some of the statutes, ordinances and regulations relevant to the higher education sector. If a grant-aided independent institution is authorised to award qualifications, its students are entitled to receive financial support for their studies. Any grant-aided independent institution authorised to award higher education degrees is obliged to assist in the follow-up and evaluation of its programmes.