Sweden mulls application fees for foreign students

Students from outside the European Union (EU) may soon be required to pay 1000 kronor ($143) just to apply for admission to Swedish colleges and universities.

According to a proposal from the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services (Verket för högskoleservice – VHS), the fee would be in place in time for students applying for admission for the 2011 academic year, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

In addition to applicants from within the EU, exchange students would also be exempt from any eventual fee.

The proposed fee comes following years of increasing numbers of applications from foreign students wishing to study in Sweden.

This autumn, Swedish universities received 114,900 applications from non-European students. Of the total, around 18,000 eligible students were offered admission.

The rising tide of applications has resulted in increased administrative costs for many universities and agencies, and VHS believes that introducing the application fee will lead to more serious and thoughtful applications and deter less motivated applicants.

VHS plans to hand over its proposal to the government on Monday for consideration.

In tasking the agency to explore the matter, the government had said it hoped to implement application fees in time for the 2010 academic year. But VHS said that trying to move so quickly would risk a total breakdown in the application system for both Swedish and foreign students.

“That could result in chaos because a large number of the applications would have to be dealt with manually. But even if it starts in 2011, we need to know by October at the latest in order to get the application and payment systems in place,” VHS director Anita Johansson told DN.

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Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.