Laws that govern Higher Education Institutions

The operations of Swedish HEIs are governed by of the Higher Education Act, the Higher Education Ordinance and public service agreements.

The Higher Education Act

Public HEIs are governed by the Higher Education Act (1992:1434), which was adopted by Riksdagen. The act provides a framework for organisation and governance, such as specifying that each HEI must have a board of directors and a vice-chancellor, but otherwise it does not go into detail. The act also defines what should characterise higher education, that they should promote gender equality and wider participation of students and other considerations.

The Swedish Higher Education Ordinance

The Higher Education Act is complemented by the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), the ordinance (1993:221) for the Swedish University of Agricultural Science and the ordinance (2007:1164) for the Swedish Defence University, which have been adopted by the Government.

For example, there are regulations for the employment of teachers and doctoral students, entry regulations for those applying for higher education and regulations for course syllabuses and grades. The ordinance appendices include the Systems of Qualifications that contain descriptions of and goals for all degrees.

The corresponding legislation for independent higher education providers is the Award of Certain Degrees Licensing Act (1993:792). There is also often an agreement with the Government that sets forth the requirements for independent higher education providers.

Under the authority of the Government, the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) issues regulations that complement and clarify the provisions of the Higher Education Act and the ordinances.

Public service agreements

HEIs are also governed by the Government’s annual public service agreements with each HEI. The public service agreement states the size of the direct Government funding and conditions for the operation.

It defines comprehensive regulations and guidelines. Specific commissions are also defined through the agreement.