Excessive fees for
Tuition fees are becoming more expensive than the Swedish government anticipated. And Lund University is adding additional costs to the students’ bills.
– The global education market price is, to a large extent, a sign of the quality of the education, says Richard Stenelo, coordinator of the implementation of tuition fees.
The average fee was estimated to be around SEK 80 000 per year in a 2009 education bill. But at Lund University, even the cheapest courses will be more expensive than that.
Faculties encouraged to raise prices
Two of the reasons behind the raised prices are housing guarantee and scholarships for overseas students. The fees must not only cover education, but all costs the university has for the students.
Another reason is that the university has encouraged the faculties to raise prices so that they will be similar to fees at comparable universities abroad.
This is most apparent at the Faculty of Law, where the price comparison, along with requests for additional scholarships and other initiatives, has resulted in an addition of SEK 50 000 per student per year. This is more than 50 percent higher than the original price.
– When the government decided to introduce tuition fees, they forgot that we have to set market prices, says Richard Stenelo.
Checked with experts
Low prices for high quality education does not attract students, he claims.
– The global education market price is, to a large extent, a sign of the quality
of the education, both among students and employers. We checked with several experts who have worked with pricing in other countries. Unfortunately, if we in Sweden charged half the price of what they charge in Holland or England, the best students would not apply. This mistake has been made before in Holland, he says.
Those students who can not afford the increase are not disadvantaged, says Richard Stenelo:
– Parts of the additions go to scholarships for those who can not afford to pay.
Against the principles of the student unions
Lund University Student Unions, Lus, is the unions’ cooperative organization and is responsible for monitoring the paying students’ interests. Last spring, Lus chose to accept charges above full coverage of tuition costs in order to get prices in line with universities abroad.
This despite the Lus’s basic position that a student’s educational opportunities should not be affected by economic conditions.
– The acceptance of the higher fees is clearly contrary to the principle, says Henrik Jonsson, vice president of Lus. But the principle was violated already when the tuition fees were introduced. Now, it is important to ensure that students will want to come here.
– We hope that the additional surcharge will not be the tipping point for any student, and we do not think it will, he continues. The idea is if you have money, you have money.
Lus also monitors the interests of international students, who must pay these additional fees as well.
– It should not be in their interest, but people act irrationally, Henrik Jonsson says. We would appreciate it if international universities lowered their prices to only cover the costs of the education.
“The right to education more important”
Magnus Roslund, former vice president of the Humanities Union, filed a disagreement when Lus took their position.
– It is not true that it does not matter for the student if an education costs SEK 20 000 more, he says and continues:
– Those who have SEK 100 000 to spend on an education might want it to be expensive because it signals high quality, but for those who are excluded, it would have been better with a lower price. The principle that a student’s economy should not affect the right to education should be of greater importance, he says.
Translation: Samantha Sunne