Funding of Swedish HEIs

Operations at Swedish HEIs are funded largely by public resources as determined by the Parliament (Riksdagen) in the form of a funding cap.

Funding cap

The compensation from the funding cap depends on the number of registered students and how many credits they manage to earn.

Different compensation amounts

The amount of compensation varies among the different disciplinary domains.

  • The humanities, social sciences, theological and legal fields have the lowest compensation.
  • The artistic, medical, technical and scientific fields have the highest compensation.

How courses are classified governs the financial compensation that HEIs receive. The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) has been tasked by the Government to examine how HEIs classify courses, if the classifications have changed over time and if they are done in a similar manner within and among HEIs.

HEIs determine the number of openings

In Sweden, the funding cap is not calculated based on a certain number of education openings or full-time equivalents. So there is no nationally planned volume of education at HEIs. Which courses and programmes the HEIs offer and how many students they accept is something they decide for themselves to a large extent.


Swedish HEIs receive funding for research and third-cycle education directly from the Government, but part of the public funding is channelled through research funding agencies, such as the Swedish Research Council. Research is also funded to a considerable extent by other research funding bodies, such as private foundations, non-profit organisations and research funding from the European Union.


This system applies to public HEIs except for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Swedish Defence University, Chalmers University of Technology and Jönköping University. They have their own budgeting and reporting processes. The compensation of other independent higher education providers is regulated through agreements with the Government.

Funding for first and second cycle courses and programmes

The funding for first (undergraduate) and second cycle (Masters') courses and study programmes is based on the number of full-time equivalent students and the annual performance equivalent. The amount of funding varies depending on the disciplinary domain. There is also a funding cap that limits the size of funding a HEI may receive.

Funding for third cycle programmes and research

Funding for third cycle programmes and research is specified in the public service agreements for higher education institutions. Part of the state funding comes via the government research funding body. In addition, many higher education institutions receive external funding from foundations, local governments, county councils and the private sector.

Read more about funding of Swedish FEIs in our annual status report