Studying abroad is often more expensive than studying in Sweden. In addition to accommodation costs, there are expenses for travel, phone calls, insurance, different fees arising from the application and possibly tuition fees. You can get student financing from CSN (Swedish Board for Study Support) for studying abroad – both for an exchange student or if you travel independently.
There is a difference between travelling on an exchange programme or doing so independently. For example, exchange students do not pay tuition fees, and you often receive some type of scholarship. If you travel independently, it is up to you to apply for scholarships or other methods of financing in addition to student financing from CSN.
Unlike universities and university colleges in Sweden, foreign universities often charge tuition fees. The scope of these varies. Make sure you find out what you get for your money.
Exchange students do not pay tuition fees
If you are given a place as an exchange student via a Swedish university or university college, you do not pay any tuition fees.
You can get student financing from CSN for studying abroad. If you are independently studying an entire programme abroad you can take an extra loan for the tuition fees. However, you cannot receive student financing for overseas studies if the same programme does not provide eligibility for student financing in Sweden.
CSN has requirements for student financing
The course/programme must:
- be full time if you are studying outside the EU,
- last at least three weeks within the EU and 13 weeks outside the EU,
- end with an exam or result in a qualification,
- be approved by the Swedish Council for Higher Education or CSN, i.e. it is an acceptable standard.
One of CSN’s requirements for eligibility for student financing is that the course is of an acceptable standard. The foreign course must therefore fulfil certain requirements.
Read more about acceptable standard for studies abroad
You can also receive student financing for distance education in the EU and EEA. You can only receive student financing for studies in the rest of the world if there are exceptional circumstances.
The level of student financing varies depending on the country in which you are going to study. CSN has fixed amounts for each country, based on the estimated cost of living.
However, these rules will change on 1 July 2015. The level of student financing will then be the same as for studies in Sweden, regardless of the country you are travelling to. Instead, CSN will introduce a new loan for additional costs for studying abroad.
You can get more information about applying for student financing and the associated requirements from CSN. Sometimes the foreign university will want to know that you can finance your education. If so, CSN can issue a certificate that shows that the course generally provides eligibility for student financing. The information below is in Swedish, but you can always contact CSN directly with your questions.
CSN's information about studying abroad
Student financing for language studies
To receive student financing for language studies, the course must be recognised by the state or under state supervision in that country. You must also have basic eligibility for higher education, i.e. have passed at least 90 per cent of your subjects at upper secondary school.
European languages must be studied in Europe
If you want to study a European language you must study it in Europe. The language must also have an official status in that country, which means that you can study German in Germany and Switzerland but not in Poland, and English in Malta and the UK but not in Belgium, for example.
Preparatory language courses
You often need to study a preparatory language course abroad in order to manage studying in another country. These can be approved if
- the course provider has a formal partnership with a university that is recognised by the state in that country,
- the course is approved by the British Council or the European Association For Quality Language Services (EAQUALS),
- the course is organised by the Goethe-Institut.
The information below is in Swedish, but you can always contact CSN directly with your questions.
CSN's information on financial aid for languages studies abroad
Scholarships and grants
There are scholarships and grants available for many different purposes. Some can offer help with financing overseas studies. Some are open for general applications, but most have special terms and requirements.
Scholarships and grants linked to a particular region
Municipalities and county councils have lists of scholarships and grants linked to the region. The applicant should often have been born there, or live, work or study in the county/municipality. Information about scholarships and grants is also available from parishes, associations, foundations and schools. The library has scholarship handbooks that list grants and scholarships.
Scholarships and grants linked to a particular university
You can also ask the university to which you are applying whether they have scholarships or grants for overseas students.
Scholarships and grants linked to a particular country
Institutes and organisations may also offer scholarships or grants. Most of the scholarships that are offered through the following organisations are for Master’s or doctoral studies:
Search for scholarships for studies in Great Britain at the website Education UK
Fulbright Commission – scholarships for studies in the USA
Italian Culture Institute (In Swedish)
Swedish Institute's information about scholarships
The Sweden-American Foundation - scholarships for research and higher education in the USA and Canada
There are a number of scholarship consultants that, for a fee, can provide suggestions for suitable funds. Search on the internet to find such a consultant.
Svensk stipendieförmedling (a Swedish stipend agency) issues a book called "Fonder & stipendier i Sverige" (Funds and Stipends in Sweden – in Swedish). It is usually available at the library.
Information on foundations in länsstyrelserna's coordinated database (in Swedish)
Grants and scholarships links at University of Gothenburg