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Sweden: Student Finances - Must read

Student living costs in Sweden

Our guide to living costs for international students in Sweden, including accommodation, public transport and food.


Flecked with picturesque cities and crisp polar plains, Scandinavia is notoriously expensive. Whilst the Swedish krona (SEK) is valued relatively low, the cost of living in Sweden can prove an unpleasant surprise to students planning to study abroad. But, not to worry: if you plan your finances properly you’ll find that living in Sweden is not only affordable, but incredibly manageable.

Note: SEK 1 = £0.093 = US$0.16



Swedish universities are prevented by law from organising EU student accommodation. The student union of your university may be able to help you in some cases, but are not obliged to do so. Finding accommodation in larger cities such as Lund and Stockholm can also be particularly difficult. Students are advised to contact student housing agencies where they can opt to rent a private or shared flat. The Swedish rental market is highly regulated, and rental prices differ little across cities. On average, for a room rented as part of a 2-3 bedroom shared flat with a shared kitchen and bathroom, you can expect to pay around SEK 710 in rent per week. Prices do vary depending on size and how close to the city centre you are: for a room in a shared house in surrounding areas of Lund you might pay around SEK 2000-SEK 4000 per month, but in the city you might pay up to SEK 5,2000.

If you are a non EU/EEA national however, your university can provide you with accommodation. The University of Lund offers a limited number of rooms and flats to international students that are rented for the full academic semester. Costs vary depending on the area and type of room, but range from SEK 13,000-SEK 20,000 per semester. Students living in a residence hall often also pay a ‘corridor fee’ of about SEK 200 for communal supplies. You will also need to pay a fixed deposit before you move in that is refunded when you leave.

All non EU/EEA students will need to have a residence permit to study in Sweden that must be applied for a received before making the move. Students requiring a permit must also prove they have at least SEK 3700 per month for 10 months to support themselves whilst they study. The application fee for the permit is about SEK 2000.

Learn more about residence permits


Living Costs

On top of rent, food and warm winter goods, you’ll need to factor in these unavoidable living costs. Here’s a rough guide to what you might look to pay:

  • Utilities (if not included in rent), monthly...SEK 812
  • Internet, 8MB, monthly...SEK 206
  • 1 minute pre-paid mobile tariff (no discounts or plans), ...SEK 1.20



All Swedish cities have reliable public transport systems. Most major hubs offer travel card options that allow unlimited travel for a set period of time. Stockholm enjoys a comprehensive network of trains, metro lines, trams and buses, all accessible via an SL Travel Card. You can also travel on a discount via a student travel card in most major cities, provided you have a Swedish Student ID. 

  • SL Travel card, Stockholm, 24 hours...SEK 115
  • SL Travel card, Stockholm, 1 month...SEK 790
  • Student discount, travel card, Stockholm, 1 month...SEK 560
  • Skåne card, Lund and Skåne county, 24 hours...SEK 195
  • Student discount, Skåne card, Lund and Skåne county, all zones, 1 month... SEK 840
  • Taxi normal tariff, per km (excluding start tariff), ...SEK 12


Swedish student ID card


Student travel card, Skåne (Lund)



Food costs in Sweden are generally quite high, but vary depending on the area, type of shop and even between supermarket chains. Coop and smaller ICA chains are considered mid-range shopping options, where buying food in bulk and preparing meals at home doesn’t necessarily come so dear. Some basic mid-range grocery prices might be around:

  • Milk, 1L...SEK 9,40
  • Loaf of white sandwich bread, 775g...SEK 24,90
  • Chicken breast fillet, 800g...SEK 89
  • Spaghetti, 1kg...SEK 17,90
  • Coca-cola, 1.5L...SEK 17,90
  • White rice, 2kg...SEK 28,90
  • Eggs, 12pk...SEK 40,90
  • Olive oil, 500ml...SEK 49,90
  • Big Mac...SEK 33


Misc. Costs

There’s no real way around entertainment costs in Sweden except to be smart with your budget. On average, you’re looking at paying the following to cover the basics of student social life:

  • Pint of beer at a restaurant or bar...SEK 57
  • Cappuccino... SEK 36
  • Bottle of water, 330ml...SEK 17.10
  • Eating out, mid-range restaurant, three courses...SEK 2,500
  • Bottle of wine in a mid-range restaurant ... SEK 250
  • Movie ticket, without student discount...SEK 107


Now that you’re prepared for how much things cost in Sweden, why not start browsing courses in Sweden now and plan your study abroad adventure?


Useful Links

Easy Roommate Sweden

Swedish Migration Board


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.