Proceedings in the Swedish Supreme Court regarding the fee-paying international student

Feb 28, 2018 | Global

Today proceedings are being held in in the Swedish Supreme Court in the matter of the fee-paying international student who is demanding a refund of the tuition fees from MDH. The verdict will establish a precedent and will finally settle the question of the probative value to which an authority’s evaluation can be ascribed, and of whether a fee-paying student enters into a civil law agreement with their higher education institution.

– Now both MDH, the student in question and all fee-paying students and HEIs will be given a final decision and precedent. It has been unclear how HEIs should deal with questions of refunding since the Government introduced tuition fees for international students in 2011, says Ann Cederberg, University Director at MDH. The Association of Swedish Higher Education, SUHF, is also supporting the appeal now being examined in the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal considered, just like the Västmanland District Court did, that there was a mutually binding agreement between the fee-paying student and the University. However, the Court of Appeal considered, unlike the Västmanland District Court, that since the student has been able to profit by a number of higher education credits and has participated in four semesters of education, MDH shall not refund the whole but instead a half of the tuition fee to the student. Furthermore, one of the Court of Appeal judges made a reservation against the decision, considering that the University should not refund the fee at all.

Therefore MDH appealed against the verdict to the Supreme Court

MDH chose to appeal to the Supreme Court so that the higher education sector could acquire a precedent in the matter concerning whether there is a case for a civil law agreement between a fee-paying student and a state HEI. This is important both for the students and all state HEIs.

The higher education sector also wishes to know whether a state regulatory authority, such as the Swedish Higher Education Authority, can be used as evidence that there exists a concrete flaw in a study programme.

Furthermore the higher education sector needs to get an answer to the question of how a civil law agreement affects the HEI’s opportunities to take corrective measures to rectify any shortcomings in a course or study programme.

The verdict will be announced in about one month.

About the Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics

In the spring 2015 the Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in question in the verdict was given an assessment of high quality by the Swedish Higher Education Authority, UKÄ. This means that this and all other study programmes evaluated by the UKÄ at MDH have the assessment today of high or very high quality.