If you would like to go to a university in Switzerland, it is important to know how to reduce the overall costs. Although the Swiss school system subsidises universities, leading to large reductions in tuition fees, some costs remain. Scholarships in Switzerland are a way of completely subsiding your costs while studying. Some of these programmes cover tuition alongside food and student housing.
How to apply for a scholarship in a Swiss university
Switzerland awards scholarships to expats based on two main factors. These include hardship or circumstances around family or work, and for excelling in the area you wish to study. Most scholarships are awarded during the application process, therefore, it is important to find out which ones you can apply for, as this dramatically reduces the cost of studying in Switzerland.
The scholarships listed below are universal, but it can be beneficial to look and see if your specific university has a unique scholarship programme or system of financial aid.
Scholarships from the Swiss Study Foundation
The mission of the Swiss Study Foundation is a commitment to subsidise students that are recognised for excellence in their field of study. These scholarships cover the majority of lived expenses while pursuing a degree in Switzerland. In addition, the foundation seeks to reward students who make the decision to study abroad, attend relevant conferences, work internships, and contribute to the academic potential of their department.
These scholarships apply to all universities in Switzerland and each scholarship requires certain qualifications or attributes, alongside membership of the foundation.
The annual scholarship system is a 20.000 Swiss franc a year grant to support a study period or research period abroad. Grants of 5.000 and 500 Swiss francs are available for those who wish to travel for shorter periods. This grant is available to members of the Swiss Study Foundation and must be applied for through their organisation, listing evidence of academic excellence and motivation to learn.
This fellowship is in cooperation with the Mercator college and the government department of foreign affairs. It is designed to support German speakers who wish to obtain higher management positions abroad. This is a 12-month funded programme where students are assigned international companies to work in to gain valuable experience. Students must have an in-depth understanding of business management and a desire to work abroad.
A Göhner scholarship is a grant awarded to fully fund a degree in Switzerland. This can be at the Bachelor or Master’s level and there are variations of the grant for the arts and teachers. This accounts for an allowance of 1.200 Swiss francs a month for all expenses, to be awarded for a maximum of 10 semesters. The grant is open to all who have been accepted into a university in Switzerland.
Werner Siemens Fellowship
This fellowship is made in conjunction with Siemens and is used to fund students in the STEM fields of study (science, technology, engineering, maths) who have a particular interest in innovation and infrastructure. The scholarship is worth 1.650 Swiss francs a month and is open to all members of the Swiss Study Foundation.
The binding scholarship is given to those who are studying in their second language. Originally designed to unify the languages of Switzerland, the scheme is now open to all students who attend a university in a region that does not use their mother tongue. The grant amounts to 1.200 Swiss francs a month and is open to all members of the Swiss Study Foundation.
The Suyana scholarship is awarded to ensure that gifted students can fully commit themselves to their studies without having to support themselves through traditional work. This amounts to 1.200 Swiss francs a month and is awarded to those from challenging backgrounds. This is in order to give underprivileged students the opportunity to study at the highest level.
Swiss government excellence scholarship
The Swiss government awards scholarships in order to cultivate foreign talent in Swiss universities and abroad. The scholarship is to encourage expat researchers and arts students to attend university in Switzerland. It is awarded by the federal commission for scholarships and is targeted at those with a master’s degree in a scientific subject and those who have a Bachelor of the arts. Selection takes around a year and is awarded on excellence.
The Heyning-Roelli Foundation is an organisation that funds students that wish to take advantage of the Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP), better known in Europe as the ERASMUS programme. The foundation awards significant financial grants to students attending a Swiss university who wish study abroad. There are no strict criteria in order to apply, although these scholarships are typically awarded to excellent students who demonstrate and explain a reason or advantage to studying abroad.