Report finds huge disparities in tuition fees in Switzerland

Report finds huge disparities in tuition fees in Switzerland

Higher education in Switzerland is renowned for its high-quality teaching and research output, but it can also be an expensive affair. Semester fees for bachelor students can range from 400 Swiss francs, all the way up to 4.000 - and university reputation seemingly has little to do with it.

ETH Zurich is good value for money

According to comparison service Comparis, higher education costs in Switzerland vary greatly from university to university and canton to canton, with little evidence that university reputation is the cause. For example, despite being a well-regarded university the world over, and ranked as a top university in continental Europe, ETH Zurich is surprisingly good value for money when compared with other universities in Switzerland

The fees per semester at ETH Zurich are set at 750 Swiss francs, almost three times cheaper than other universities in the country, such as the University of Ticino, which charges its students a much more expensive 2.000 Swiss francs each six months. 

Universities in western Switzerland are cheaper

While ETH Zurich is good value for money given its international reputation, there are even cheaper institutions in western Switzerland. The University of Neuchâtel is the cheapest university in Switzerland, charging its students 425 Swiss francs per semester for Bachelor’s degree tuition. 

Comparis also found that foreign students are likely to pay a lot more than Swiss students do for their tuition. Despite rules that mean that universities are not allowed to charge high fees, it is still much more expensive for students from abroad, since their home canton doesn't subsidise the fees like they do with Swiss students. 

The law holds that universities are not allowed to charge foreign students more than other students, and some universities, such as University of Geneva and ETH Zurich, have gone so far as to recognise foreign students and local students as the same.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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