Swedish university ordered to refund American student’s tuition fees over ‘almost worthless’ degree

Institution has to pay back student around £14,500, plus interest

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Thursday 16 June 2016 15:03 BST
(Mälardalen University/Facebook)
(Mälardalen University/Facebook)

A university in Sweden has been ordered to refund tuition fees to an American student after she spent two years studying a course deemed “almost worthless.”

Connie Askenback attended Mälardalen University College - also known as MDH - from 2011 to 2013 to study the analytical finance course. However, Västmanland District Court noted how Sweden’s higher education authority, UKÄ, criticised the course.

According to Dutch newspaper, the AD, MDH will pay the student back 172,180 Swedish Krona - around £14,500 - plus interest.

The AD also reports how UKÄ had “rejected” the course after it failed on four of five course criteria, rendering it “almost worthless.” The Guardian also reports the court ruled the degree had “no practical value.”

MDH, which is one of Sweden’s largest higher education providers with over 14,000 students, says the course in question is “carefully tailored” to meet the large demand for mathematicians with expertise in finance and economics.

The course description also highlights how graduates have “competitive qualifications” to land an “attractive” job.

Askenback said in a statement: “It really feels good. It is an important vindication and now I can finally continue studying as I originally thought.”

In a statement of its own, the university said the higher education sector has now “received the answer to a question that has existed since the decision in 2011” to require fees from students coming from countries outside the EU, the EEA, or from Switzerland.

University director, Marie Eriksson, added: “The court considers higher education institutions enter a mutually binding agreement with these students. This affects the entire sector, and here, at the university, we now have to sit down and consider the implications of this verdict.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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