Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
Shape the future of international education at the ICEF Monitor Summit September 23rd 2024, InterContinental London - The O2
6th Mar 2019

Stockholm reporting continued growth in international student numbers

In 2011, the Swedish government decided to introduce higher education tuition fees for non-European Union/non-European Economic Area students. The number of foreign students in Sweden promptly declined and continued to do so until about 2014, when we first observed a modest recovery. A new report from the Stockholm Academic Forum (STAF) – a peak body made up of local government plus the city’s 18 higher education institutions – provides further evidence of continuing growth since 2014, with foreign student numbers in Stockholm now approaching 2011 levels for the first time since the new tuition policy was introduced. Study Destination Stockholm: Report on International Student Mobility, Stockholm 2017-2018 reports just under 10,000 international students in Stockholm as of the 2017/18 academic year. Those numbers have grown by 5% year-over-year, about 20% in total over the last three years, and are on pace to surpass the previous high point from 2011 some time this year. Roughly one in four international students in Sweden is studying in Stockholm and so the report also provides an interesting directional indicator as to overall student numbers in the country. As the following chart reflects, roughly two-thirds of those students are so-called “free movers” (that is, students in Sweden outside of a formal exchange programme), with the remaining third in the country on exchange. The total number of international students in Sweden, 2008/09–2017/18. Source: STAF

China takes the lead

The other notable development for Stockholm, as of 2017/18, is that China is now the city’s largest sending market, having surpassed Finland and other traditional leading source markets in Europe. “During the academic year 2017–18, the number of Chinese students skyrocketed,” notes the report. “They are now the largest single international student population in Stockholm with 826 students, an increase of 18% compared to the previous year.” Along with China, only India (the fifth-ranked source market in 2017/18 with 385 students in Stockholm) and the US (ninth-ranked; 275 students) appear as non-European markets among the top ten sending countries for Stockholm. Enrolments from the top four sending markets for Stockholm, 2012/13–2017/18. Source: STAF Overall, roughly six in ten inbound students (61%) come from Europe, with another 27% from Asia, 5% from North America, 3% from Africa, an 2% from South America. The STAF report notes as well that national breakdowns vary notably among institutions in Stockholm. Chinese and Indian students, for example, are more likely to be found in STEM programmes (science, technology, engineering, and math) at KTH (the Royal Institute of Technology). Meanwhile, the majority of students from other leading senders, including Finland and Germany, are enrolled at Stockholm University.

Focused marketing

In commenting on the growing enrolment over the last three years, the report says, “Underlying this increase is strategic work including cooperation with prestigious universities worldwide, and marketing.” “The work of recruiting free moving students has also become more strategic, as individual institutions focus on prioritised markets. Moreover, several HEIs offer joint programmes, called dual degrees, with foreign universities: To receive a double degree, students spend one year in Stockholm and one year at the foreign university.” For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Australia: Study visa grants down nearly a third through April 2024 Read More
  • Study maps employment pathways for international graduates in US; calls for expanded career services Read More
  • Home Office data confirms downturn in UK visa issuances through Q1 2024 Read More

Most Popular

  • Comparing student visa proof of funds requirements across 20 study destinations Read More
  • Canada: More provincial cap numbers announced; IRCC moves up end date for post-graduate work for partnership programmes Read More
  • Lessons from Denmark: The downside of limiting international student flows Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Australia: Study visa grants down nearly a third through April 2024 Data from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs shows that study visa grants are down significantly for the first...
Read more
Study maps employment pathways for international graduates in US; calls for expanded career services Career motivations are consistently revealed in major global research studies to be a primary driver of the choices...
Read more
Home Office data confirms downturn in UK visa issuances through Q1 2024 A 13 June data release from the UK Home Office confirms a decrease in student visa issuances for...
Read more
Australia moves to curtail onshore “visa hopping” Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil announced today the next phase of implementation in the package of...
Read more
ICEF Podcast: The outlook for international education in the USA – live from NAFSA Listen in as ICEF’s Craig Riggs and Martijn van de Veen recap some recent industry news, including an...
Read more
Canada’s Immigration Minister signals that changes are coming to post-study work rights For more than 15 years now, international students have been able to come to Canada, complete any type...
Read more
IDP investor guidance warns of market downturn through 2025 IDP Education is one the largest service providers in international education. As a publicly traded company on the...
Read more
US launches new market diversification dashboard Given the need for new and better ways to collect and interpret data on international student movement, we...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links