International Students May Soon Have to Pay Higher Tuition Fees in Switzerland

Switzerland Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News May 29, 2024


International students studying at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich and Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) may soon face a huge increase in tuition fees.

The House of Representatives accepted the proposal to raise fees on Wednesday, May 29, and it has been sent to the Senate for approval. If the proposal is approved, international students will have to pay three times more than domestic students.

Currently, international students in Switzerland pay the same amount in tuition as Swiss students. Tuition fees for international students from both EU and non-EU countries in Switzerland start from €400 per year, reports.

The proposal to triple tuition fees was made by the Science, Education, and Culture Committee (WBK-N), which, according to local media reports, mentioned the affordable education offered in Switzerland, saying the country is among those with the lowest tuition fees in the world.

Another proposal to charge international students three to five times more than Swiss students didn’t pass further, reports.

Federal technology institute ETH Zurich is one of the most popular higher education institutions in Switzerland, experiencing an increase in student numbers from 11,000 in 2000s to more than 21,000 today. About 35 percent of students enrolled in this university are international.

Similarly, the Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) has nearly 18,000 students, of which more than 7,000 are international students who represent over 130 nationalities. The number of students at EPFL enrolled in bachelor and master programs has increased from 5,283 in 2010 to 10,894 in 2023.

Earlier this year, media reports said the institute plans to reduce study places for international students, capping the number of first-year bachelor’s degree students at 3,000 starting in 2025. The university said the new measure, which will be in place for four years, could be renewed if necessary.

“Thanks to its teaching and research excellence, EPFL has become a university of choice, especially for high-school graduates in other countries. However, the growing size of our student body is putting a strain on the quality of the education we can provide,” the school said in a press release in January.

“We estimate the measure would reduce Bachelor’s admissions by around 20 percent. We’ll review the measure in light of the changes in our student body at the end of each four-year period,” it added.

Official data show Switzerland is home to more than 78,000 international students, most from Italy, Australia, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey.

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