If the distance education continues this autumn, many international students request to pay less in tuition fees due to compromised quality of their education. According to Richard Stenelo, international director at the division of External Relations, Lund University has not taken a stance or made a decision regarding the tuition fees yet.
Covid-19 has affected us all, but one group that are extra worried right now are the international students studying at Lund University. These students that come from outside of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, pay tuition fees between 100 000 to 140 000 crowns per year. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, they have raised several concerns regarding their tuition fees.
If classes at Lund University would be digitalised this autumn, some international students are concerned that this will compromise the quality of the education that they are paying for. Additionally, a lot of international students rely on part-time jobs to pay their tuition fees. But with the economic downturn, we are currently witnessing that a lot of these sources of income are either disappearing or becoming scarcer.
Pradeep Caldera is an international student from Sri Lanka, currently finishing his second year of the International Business bachelor at LUSEM. To pay his tuition fees, which are 100 000 crowns a year, he is relying on his parents partly financing him plus working a part-time job in a bar in Lund. Now with Covid-19, he has lost his part-time job and his parents are also struggling to help pay his tuition fee. As if that were not enough, he cannot travel home to Sri Lanka this summer since the country is in lockdown. Pradeep Caldera finished by saying that “The whole situation is very depressing, and I would greatly appreciate financial help from the Swedish state with the tuition fees for the autumn semester 2020.”
The magazine “The Local” reported the 8th of May that under the name “Education Uninterrupted”, over a thousand international students have signed a letter requesting a solution regarding their tuition fees. This letter was sent to the Swedish government, the Swedish Migration Agency, and several Swedish universities.
Lund University is the university in Sweden with the most international students, with nine bachelor programs and over 100 master programs taught in English. In 2019, Lund University had 8000 international students, 1500 of which paid a tuition fee.
Richard Stenelo is the international director at the division of External Relations at Lund University. In a phone interview, he said that Lund University has still not decided whether to have distance education at the beginning of the autumn term or not. They are closely monitoring the situation and are following the recommendation of Sweden’s Public Health Authority. However, Richard Stenelo emphasised that distant learning is by no means cheaper for the university to provide than proximate learning. He commented that “Teachers have to work just as hard with online classes as with normal ones, if not even harder.” However, regarding the tuition fees for the international students, Richard Stenelo commented that Lund University has not taken a stance or made a decision regarding that question yet.