In Switzerland, your child is mandated to have at least 11 years of schooling, starting from age six. The Swiss government places the responsibility of funding and running primary, secondary, vocational colleges, and some higher education in the hands of your local county (canton). It is their responsibility to ensure every child has a place in school, meaning that most types of school are free.
Does Switzerland charge public school fees?
Public schools in the Swiss school system are funded by local taxation. It is not uncommon for the tax contributions for schools to be the largest tax burden each year. This means that all publicly-run schools from childcare to higher education are free. However, you may be asked to pay for after-school activities and school trips. It also must be noted that children in Switzerland are expected to return home for meals, meaning that the cost of food is your responsibility.
Swiss private school fees
Due to the high quality of public education in Switzerland, the government does not subsidise private education in any way. In fact, as of 2011, Canton Zurich has not allowed Swiss citizens to attend private or international schools.
The only exception where your child’s place at a private school would be publicly funded is if there are no places at your local public school and the alternative is too far away. This typically happens in more alpine cantons where there are no public schools within easy reach, however, this is highly uncommon.
School fees from private schools are around 15.000 to 40.000 Swiss francs a year, plus extras such as trips abroad and extracurricular activities. These costs are not tax-deductible and cannot be declared in your tax return.
International school fees in Switzerland
International schools in Switzerland are an excellent way to provide your child with a diverse and rewarding school experience. International schools do not receive any state funding and are free to charge whatever they deem appropriate. International schools are characterised by a warm, diverse environment and a high standard of teaching. Costs for a place at an international school ranges from 20.000 Swiss francs to 100.000 for mountain boarding schools.