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Swiss universities triple fees for foreign students

Summary:
Switzerland’s federal government is spending more than it collects. To improve its finances it is looking for additional revenue and costs that it can cut. This week, the government decided to charge foreign students at its two federal universities, EPFL in Lausanne and ETHZ in Zurich, three times what they currently pay, reported SRF. Ethz © Drserg | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland is one of the most affordable places to study for both locals and foreigners. Fees to study at EPFL and ETHZ are around CHF 1,500 a year – CHF 1,560 at EPFL and CHF 1,460 at ETHZ. The change will mean foreign students will still pay less than CHF 5,000 a year, a sum far lower than fees at equivalent universities in other countries. Arguments preceding the vote of 134 versus 61 centred on such international

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Switzerland’s federal government is spending more than it collects. To improve its finances it is looking for additional revenue and costs that it can cut. This week, the government decided to charge foreign students at its two federal universities, EPFL in Lausanne and ETHZ in Zurich, three times what they currently pay, reported SRF.

Swiss universities triple fees for foreign students
Ethz © Drserg | Dreamstime.com

Switzerland is one of the most affordable places to study for both locals and foreigners. Fees to study at EPFL and ETHZ are around CHF 1,500 a year – CHF 1,560 at EPFL and CHF 1,460 at ETHZ. The change will mean foreign students will still pay less than CHF 5,000 a year, a sum far lower than fees at equivalent universities in other countries. Arguments preceding the vote of 134 versus 61 centred on such international comparisons. The fees applied to foreign students at Oxford and Stanford were up to 40 times higher, said parliamentarian Lars Guggisberg.

Arguments against the plan centred on the risk of substituting some of the brightest students with less talented students with the means to pay higher fees.

However, experience at the University of St. Gallen suggests higher fees have little impact on attracting foreign students. In 2014, the university hiked fees for foreign students, who now pay CHF 3,329 compared to the CHF 1,429 paid by locals. The higher tuition fees did not lead to a decline in the number of foreign students, although the number of foreign students admitted is capped.

At the same time, the CHF 25 million resulting boost in revenue from the fee change at EPFL and ETHZ will do little to fill the large hole in Switzerland’s federal finances.

More on this:
SRF article (in German) 

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