Sweden

All institutions including universities that are government authorities follow applicable general rules and universities are also subject to the Higher Education Ordinance and Act. Similar rules are included in the statutes for universities with foundation status but the Higher Education Ordinance and Act does not apply to these institutions. Six Swedish universities have foundation status, which gives more autonomy to these institutions.

Recent developments:

  • Change in appointment process for external members of governing bodies in 2012, with a two-person nomination committee providing suggestions to the government for final appointment; as of 2017 the university appoints one of two members
  • Full capacity of universities to organise their academic structures from 2011
  • Partial lifting of restrictions on universities establishing legal entities
  • Introduction of tuition fees for non-EU students in 2011
  • Increasing demand for student places
  • New quality assurance system legislation introduced in March 2016
  • Greater flexibility for universities in academic staff recruitment process

Organisational autonomy: medium high

The appointment and dismissal of the university executive head must be validated by an external authority. Selection criteria and the minimum term of office are stated in the law. Universities include external members in their governing bodies, and propose them for appointment by an external authority through a nominations committee. Universities can decide on internal academic structures. There are restrictions on the establishment of legal entities.

Financial autonomy: medium low

There is limited possibility to move funds between different activity categories of the block grant funding received by Swedish universities. Surpluses must be used within the same activity category for which the funding was allocated. Swedish universities that do not have foundation status may borrow money through a specific government-backed bank and cannot own buildings. Universities may not charge tuition fees for national and EU students at any level and for non-EU students at doctoral level. They may charge fees for non-EU students at Bachelor and Master levels.

Academic autonomy: medium high

Universities decide on overall student numbers. Admission criteria at Bachelor and Master levels are co-regulated. Universities may introduce new programmes without prior accreditation but cannot select either external quality assurance mechanisms or providers. Swedish universities can design the content of their degree programmes and may decide on the language of instruction.

Staffing autonomy: high

Universities can essentially decide on recruitment, salaries, promotions and dismissals. Minimum requirements for the recruitment process of academic staff are outlined in law.

Organisational weighted 61% unweighted 62%

0

0% Selection procedure for the executive head

The selection of the executive head is validated by an external authority

75

75% Selection criteria for the executive head

The law states that the executive head must hold an academic position

This applies to 13 other countries: Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Flanders, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain,

80

80% Dismissal of the executive head

The dismissal is confirmed by an external authority but the procedure is decided by the university

This applies to 2 other countries: Hungary, Portugal,

60

60% Term of office of the executive head

The minimum length is stated in the law

This applies to one other country: North Rhine-Westphalia

57

57% External members in university governing bodies

Universities cannot decide as they must include external members

External members are proposed by the university and appointed by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Norway, Slovakia,

100

100% Capacity to decide on academic structures

Universities can decide on their academic structures without constraints

60

60% Capacity to create legal entities

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia,

Financial weighted 56% unweighted 44%

60

60% Length of public funding cycle

60

60% Type of public funding

Block grant is split into broad categories and there are no or limited possibilities to move funds between these

This applies to 7 other countries: France, Wallonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia,

80

80% Ability to borrow money

Universities can borrow money from specific banks (designated by an external authority)

This applies to one other country: Brandenburg

80

80% Ability to keep surplus

Surplus can be kept but its allocation is pre-determined by an external authority

This applies to 3 other countries: Brandenburg, Wallonia, Poland,

0

0% Ability to own buildings

Universities are not allowed to own their buildings

This applies to 6 other countries: Brandenburg, Hesse, Hungary, Lithuania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Serbia,

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

There are no tuition fees

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Master's level

There are no tuition fees

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

There are no tuition fees

100

100% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

100

100% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Master's level

Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

0

0% Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

There are no tuition fees

This applies to 6 other countries: Brandenburg, Denmark, Finland, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway,

Staffing weighted 97% unweighted 96%

92

92% Recruitment procedures for senior academic staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

Other restrictions

100

100% Recruitment procedures for senior administrative staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

100

100% Salaries for senior academic staff

Universities can freely decide on staff salaries

This applies to 4 other countries: Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Switzerland

100

100% Salaries for senior administrative staff

Universities can freely decide on staff salaries

This applies to 5 other countries: Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom

80

80% Dismissal of senior academic staff

There are no sector-specific regulations concerning dismissals (national labour regulations apply)

This applies to 8 other countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom

100

100% Dismissal of senior administrative staff

There are no sector-specific regulations concerning dismissals (national labour regulations apply)

100

100% Promotion procedures for senior academic staff

Universities can freely decide on promotion procedures

100

100% Promotion procedures for senior administrative staff

Universities can freely decide on promotion procedures

Academic weighted 66% unweighted 72%

100

100% Overall student numbers

Universities decide independently on the number of study places

This applies to 6 other countries: Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, United Kingdom

60

60% Admissions procedures at Bachelor level

Admission criteria are co-regulated by an external authority and universities

60

60% Admissions procedures at Master's level

Admission criteria are co-regulated by an external authority and universities

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Flanders, Hungary, The Netherlands, Slovenia,

80

80% Introduction of programmes at Bachelor level

Universities can open degree programmes without prior accreditation

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Hesse, Iceland, Latvia,

80

80% Introduction of programmes at Master's level

Universities can open degree programmes without prior accreditation

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Hesse, Iceland, Latvia,

80

80% Introduction of programmes at doctoral level

Universities can open degree programmes without prior accreditation

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Iceland, Latvia, Poland,

100

100% Termination of degree programmes

Universities can terminate degree programmes independently

100

100% Language of instruction at Bachelor level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

100

100% Language of instruction at Master's level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

0

0% Selection of quality assurance mechanisms

Universities cannot select quality assurance mechanisms

0

0% Selection of quality assurance providers

Universities cannot choose the quality assurance agency

100

100% Capacity to design content of degree programmes

Universities can freely design the content of degree programmes and courses (other than for the regulated professions)