Partner : The Swedish Institute (Si)

In 2014/15, more than 33,181 international students studied in Sweden. Germany is the lead country of origin for international students. Swedish students, on other hand, continually prefer the United States and United Kingdom as study abroad destinations.

There were over 33,181 international students in Sweden in 2014/15. The top five places of origin in 2014/15 were Germany, Finland, China, France, and Spain. More than 29,000 Swedish students studied abroad in other countries in 2014/15.



Inbound/International Student:  An individual who crosses national borders into Sweden to pursue education. The term is divided into two categories:

  • Exchange students: Persons taking part in an organized exchange program.
  • Free movers: Persons with residence study permits entering Sweden less than two years before beginning their studies; persons entering Sweden less than six months before starting their studies; and persons in the national student database without a national registration number. To receive a study permit, a student needs to have been accepted at a HEI in Sweden, paid the installment fee, and demonstrated that he or she has funding to cover living expenses for the duration of the study permit, sometimes granted one year at time. 

Only students enrolled in degree/qualifications programs or are receiving credits for a degree back at their home institutions are included in Sweden’s definition of an international student.

Foreign Student: Sweden does not differentiate between international and foreign students.

Outbound Student: Outbound student’s Swedish students pursuing degree/qualifications abroad or those participating in for-credit short-term or exchange programs for credit back at their institution in Sweden.

Higher Education Institution (HEI):  HEIs are "accredited" and regulated by the Swedish Higher Education Authority. Only officially recognized HEIs can award credits and awards within the Swedish higher education system, which entitles students to student loans. Other tertiary institutions that offer professional degrees exist too. But students at these institutions do not get credits, are not awarded degrees and cannot get public student loans.

Public HEI: Public HEIs in Sweden are legally, public authorities or agencies.

Private HEI: Private - or independent - HEIs are legally and financially independent entities but also receive public funding for education and research.  

Data Tables

Data Collection and Resources

Statistics Sweden, SCB is a government agency that operates under the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education is responsible for all international student data collection and is the main governmental entity responsible for setting policies relating to international student data collection in Sweden under the direction of the Ministry of Culture and Education. International student data sources include: The Higher Education Register (from SCB); national student records database (from universities); and the Population Register including immigrants (from SCB, Migration Board).

For additional country data or other information on Sweden, please visit: