More Swedes studying abroad in 2014/15

The majority of Swedes who studied abroad in the academic year of 2014/15 did so in Europe, primarily in the UK, Denmark and Poland. In recent years North America and Asia have also become increasingly popular choices for Swedish students.

The number of students crossing Sweden’s borders has increased significantly in recent decades. This applies both to Swedish students who travel abroad to study and foreign students who come to Sweden to study.

These two groups are called students from abroad and Swedish students studying abroad. They can be broken down further into exchange students who take part in an exchange programme and students who arrange their studies in the country on their own. The latter are known as free-movers.

More Swedes studying abroad

In the 2014/15 academic year, there were 29,100 Swedish students abroad, ei-ther in exchange programmes or as free-movers with financial support from the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN). Since 2005/06, the number studying abroad has risen from 24,000 to 29,100.

During the same period, the number of incoming students to Sweden has in-creased every year up until the 2010/11 academic year when it was 46,700. The introduction of tuition fees in the autumn of 2011 led to a reduction in the number of incoming students, however. In the 2014/15 academic year, the total number of incoming students was 33,200. Of these, 41 percent were exchange students and 59 percent were free-movers. The number of incoming students is still higher than the number of outbound students, despite the introduction of fees.

In the 2014/15 academic year, 52 per cent of the incoming students were women and 48 percent were men. Among the Swedish students abroad, 59 per cent were women and 41 percent were men.

Big differences regarding length of studies

Most of the incoming students studied for one or two terms in Sweden. Howev-er, the difference between exchange students and free-movers was considerable. The percentage of exchange students who only studied one term was significantly higher than among the free-movers. Of the registered exchange students in the academic year of 2014/15, 81 percent studied for one term in Sweden. The corresponding proportion of free-movers was 15 per cent.

The differences in length of studies is to a large extent due to the fact that considerably more free-movers studied a degree programme while virtually all the exchange students did freestanding courses. Of the free-movers who studied a degree programme, 65 percent did a two-year Master’s programme and 15 percent did a one-year Master’s programme. This means that, in total, 80 percent of the degree pro-gramme students studied a second-cycle programme.

Most of those Swedes who studied abroad also studied for one or two terms abroad. Considerably more free-movers than exchange students studied for three terms or more abroad, however. As in previous academic years, the pro-portion of free-movers who have been abroad for seven terms or more was high.

Increasing number of first-year free-movers

Of the 33,200 incoming students who studied at universities or higher education institutions in Sweden in the 2014/15 academic year, 21 800 studied for the first time in the country, i.e. they were first-year students in Swedish higher education. This was almost as many as in the previous academic year.

The number of exchange students was 13,200 and the number of free-movers was 8,600.

The number of first-year free-movers had increased by 14 percent, while the number of exchange students had decreased by 4 percent.

More first-years from outside the EU/EEA

In the academic year of 2014/15, 11 000 of incoming first-years were from countries inside the EU/EEA while 7,600 were from outside the EU/EEA. Compared to the previous academic year, the number of incoming students from the EU/EEA has fallen while the number from countries outside has increased.

Of the 13,200 first-year exchange students in Swedish higher education in the 2014/15 academic year, 68 percent were from Europe. Asia and North America were next. The single largest countries were Germany, France and China.

Among the free-movers, 30 percent of the 8,600 first-years were from Europe. Next came Asia with 22 per cent. The single largest countries were India, Fin-land and China.

Many incoming students at Lund University

Lund University had the most incoming students who were studying in Sweden for the first time, 3.100. Next came Uppsala University with 2,000 and Stockholm University with 1,800 incoming students.

The Royal College of Music in Stockholm with 69 per cent and Stockholm School of Economics with 57 per cent both had a high share of the total number of incoming first-years.

Continued increase in Swedish students studying abroad

In the academic year of 2014/15, 29,100 Swedish students studied abroad, either on exchange programmes, as free-movers, or participating in language courses with financial support from the Swedish National Board of Student Aid (CSN).

Compared to the previous academic year, the number of exchange stu-dents has risen by 3 percent and the number of free-movers is unchanged.

The number of Swedish students studying language courses abroad continues to decrease.

Poland still popular but Denmark on the wane

The majority of Swedes who studied abroad studied in Europe, especially in the UK, Denmark and Poland. In recent years, more and more have chosen to study in North America and Asia. The US and the UK are the single largest recipient countries of Swedish students in the 2014/15 academic year. Next came Aus-tralia, Denmark, Poland, France and Germany. These seven countries together received almost two-thirds of all the students leaving Sweden.

However, their countries of choice have changed over time. In the last ten academic years, Spain, France and Italy have lost students while the number going to e.g. Poland, the UK and Japan has increased. In the last five academic years, the number of students going to Denmark has also decreased.