Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

Report 2008:33 R

The student population in Sweden

This report presents an overview of the student population in Sweden. The report focuses on the students that were registered on first-cycle (undergraduate) courses in the autumn semester 2006. To a large degree, the report is based on the higher education student registry although some information has been obtained from the official records for the whole population. The report illustrates the following:
  • Swedish higher education institutions (HEIs) have a heterogeneous student population: Half of the students are between the ages of twenty and twenty-five, with one third of the students between the ages of twenty-six and forty. One fifth of students have children. Approximately three out of ten students have parents from the professional classes, and two out of ten have working class backgrounds. It is becoming more common for students to have non-Swedish backgrounds. In 2000 this was 12 per cent and in 2006 it was 16 per cent. Approximately half of students are non-traditional students, i.e. they started their studies at the age of twenty-five or older, have had an extended break in their studies, or are studying part-time.
  • In 2006, half of the students received student grants and student loans. However, fewer students are taking out student loans.
  • Thirty per cent of students at HEIs have previously studied at Komvux (adult education).
  • Almost one quarter of students are studying part-time.
  • Distance education is becoming more common. There are 53 200 students participating in distance education, which is equivalent to 17 per cent of all students. In 2000, this was 10 per cent. Female students are in a clear majority among these students.
  • Approximately one in four students, at some time, has taken a study break lasting a minimum of three months.
  • Students in higher education have usually completed social sciences or natural sciences study programmes at upper-secondary school.
  • Approximately one quarter of students attend a HEI located in the same local authority as their upper secondary school. Approximately one half attend a HEI located in another county.
  • Approximately two-thirds are studying full study programmes. One third of students are studying self-contained courses.
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