Number of new entrants remained unchanged and number of graduates decreased

The number of higher education (HE) students continued to drop in the academic year of 2016/17, while the number of new entrants increased slightly. Students who only took freestanding courses accounted for the entire drop. A little more than 63 000 students received qualifications, which was significantly fewer than the previous academic year.

Continued decrease of higher education students, but the number of HE entrants remained the same

The number of students decreased to 402 200 in the academic year of 2016/17, which was 600 less than the previous academic year. The number of students who only took freestanding courses dropped even more and thus made up the entire drop.

The number of HE entrants – new students studying at Swedish universities and institutes of higher education – remained the same as the previous aca-demic year with 86 000 entrants in the academic year of 2016/17. The Swedish HE entrants, meaning new students excluding international stu-dents, decreased by 400.

Increased number of higher education entrants in programmes

During the academic year of 2016/17, 24 100 HE entrants studied in gen-eral programmes (programmes leading to a higher education diploma, a bachelor’s, or a master’s degree). That was 3 percent more than the aca-demic year of 2015/16 and 21 percent more than 2007/08. There were 28 400 HE entrants in professional qualification programmes, which was an increase of 3 percent compared to the previous year.

Nearly half of the higher education entrants were under the age of 22

In the academic year of 2016/17, the number of HE entrants under the age of 22 decreased by 1 200. Nearly half of the HE entrants were 21 or younger. Compared to the academic year of 2007/08, the share of HE en-trants under the age of 22 has not changed.

Larger share of men than women at the second cycle

In the academic year of 2016/17, 243 300 women and 158 900 men were enrolled in higher education at the first and second cycles. Close to 106 500 students were enrolled in courses classified as second cycle courses, which was 26 percent of all students. The share of students at second cycle was larger for men than for women, 27 and 26 percent respectively.

Decrease in number of graduates

In the academic year of 2016/17, 50 000 students graduated for the first time from Swedish higher education institutions. This was 4 100 fewer than in the previous academic year. Among the first-time graduates, 62 percent were women and 38 percent were men. For first-time graduates only the first completed degree in Sweden is counted for each individual.

The total number of students who graduated was 63 400, including those who had previous qualifications. The decrease since the previous academic year was 4 900 graduates. Of the total graduates, 64 percent were women and 36 percent were men.

The number of qualifications awarded in the academic year of 2016/17 was 76 000. There is a difference between the number of qualifications awarded and the number of graduates because 12 600 qualifications were awarded to students who received more than one qualification during the academic year. The share of qualifications awarded to women were 64 percent and 36 percent were awarded to men.

Close to 10 000 Master’s degrees

During the academic year of 2016/17, 16 200 students were awarded qual-ifications requiring at least 300 credits, which corresponds to five years of full-time study. The number of qualifications awarded in the longest study programmes has increased by 14 200 since the new structure of education and qualifications was introduced in 2007. The major part of the increase is due to the introduction of master's degrees that year. During the academ-ic year of 2016/17, 9 500 Master’s degrees were awarded. The distribution of women and men was even, with 48 percent women and 52 percent men.

Graduates are younger than ten years ago

In the academic year of 2016/17, the median age for graduates was 26.7 years. The median age was 26.8 for women and 26.7 for men. Ten years earlier, the median age of women was 28.5 and that of men was 27.6 years.

Among those who graduated for the first time at Swedish institutes of high-er education in the academic year of 2015/16, the women were younger than men were. The median age of women was 26.0 compared to 26.3 for men.

The number of double degrees continues to increase

During the academic year of 2016/17, 10 000 graduates were awarded both a professional qualification and a general qualification. Such double de-grees have more than doubled during the last ten years, despite the increase in the number of professional qualifications being relatively small. More women than men received a double degree, but in relation to the total number of degrees, it was about as common for both sexes. Most of the double qualifications were awarded to students who studied nursing or engineering.

Percentage of qualifications awarded to international students de-creased

Between the academic years of 2007/08 and 2011/12 the percentage of individuals coming to Sweden to study (international students) increased from 7 percent to 13 percent among those awarded qualifications. Since then it has fallen and was 10 percent in the academic year of 2015/16. The reason for the decrease is the introduction of student fees for certain inter-national students in the academic year of 2011/12. The share of interna-tional students was 14 percent among men and 7 percent among women in the academic year of 2016/17.

Swedish Higher Education Authotity (UKÄ) is appointed by the Swedish government to be responsible for official statistics on higher education.