Is it Expensive to Study in Switzerland?

Have you ever wondered if it is expensive to study in Switzerland? In this article, we will explore the cost of studying in Switzerland and how it compares to other countries. We will look at the different types of schools and universities in Switzerland, and how much they cost. You’ll also get to know how the cost of studying in Japan compares to the cost of studying in four other countries.

The cost of education in Switzerland is relatively cheap. However, the cost of living in Switzerland is dependent on the kind of lifestyle you want to live as a student. Tuition fee is affordable in most Swiss universities so you can afford to pay for your education in Switzerland. With proper planning and preparation, you don’t have to spend a fortune studying in Switzerland. 

Studying in Switzerland can be a good means for you to get a degree without spending so much. When you have the right information, you can fulfill your dream of getting a degree in Switzerland and join other students like yourself. Regardless of the type of degree that you want to study in Switzerland, you can get a quality education at a decent cost.

Switzerland has one of the world-class quality of education and it is also ranked as the second-best place to study in Europe so you will not just get an affordable education but also a high-quality education. They have a wide range of programs from sciences to arts so you have lots of options to choose from. 

To guide you in planning and making a budget for your studies in Switzerland, I’ll show you the cost of studying and living in Switzerland. This includes tuition fees, the cost of living, and other costs that you may not know about. We will also take a look at the cost of studying in some countries and how they compare to the cost of studying in Switzerland. Keep reading to learn more.

Tuition fees

The tuition fee is one of the many costs you have to plan to study in Japan especially if you don’t have a scholarship. Upon getting admission into a higher institution, you will be required to pay either full or half of your tuition fee to proceed with your admission into the school. 

Tuition fees for graduate programs in Switzerland range from $1,100 to $2,000 per year while for graduate studies you can get as low as $5,000 per year. For instance, the University of Lausanne can be as low as From 580 CHF ($630) per semester. At the University of Geneva tuition fee for both undergraduate and graduate degrees ranges from 500 CHF ($540) per Semester which explains why it is the most popular study region for international students in Switzerland. 

Unlike most European schools, there are no tuition-free schools in Switzerland. The only way to get free education in Switzerland is by applying for scholarships that may cover tuition and parts of the living expenses. There are usually scholarships available for international students that are pursuing post-graduate programs or research in Swiss schools.

Like most countries, states universities that are state-funded are a lot cheaper than private universities that are owned privately. You can find state or public schools in Switzerland with subsidized tuition fees since they are owned and funded by the state. Although international students pay more than citizens in Switzerland, studying in a public school as an international student can further reduce your tuition fee. 

You can draw up an installment payment plan for yourself and pay the tuition per semester. This will further lessen the burden of paying high tuition at once. Check with the school to find out the minimum deposit allowed and agree on how you can pay in installments. Let’s take a look at the living costs needed while schooling and living in Switzerland.

Living Costs

Living in Switzerland can be expensive if not properly managed. If you ask a majority of people how expensive it is to live in Switzerland, they’ll most probably tell you that it is quite expensive to live in Switzerland. On the other hand, if you manage and make proper plans before going to Switzerland to study and live, you can cut back on a lot of unnecessary costs. 

Your living costs include all you’d need to spend on your accommodation, your feeding, and your clothing. You need these things to get by in school as you study and live in Switzerland. For your accommodation, you can live in student hall residents which are about $800-$1200 per month. Places like Volketswil and Zurich are affordable places to live for students. You can consider studying at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich if you’re interested in research.

Your living expenses also depend on the city you’re living in Switzerland. If you are living in one of the most expensive cities in Switzerland such as Geneva, Basel, or Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, the costs may be higher. 

The highest living expense is usually the rent but you can reduce the cost by looking for low-cost accommodations or students’ shared apartments. Some schools have dormitories for students which are often shared so you don’t have to pay so much for your rent. Rent usually ranges from $600-$900 in most regions. If there are student accommodations outside the school so you can rent one and share costs with one or two roommate(s). For the first month, you may have to pay a little bit more to cover some base costs or fees for the rent so you can budget extra for your first rent. A foreign student who moved to Zurich last September mentioned that rent can be anywhere from $300-$700 in a student house or shared apartment. 

You can get a decent meal for $10 if you decide to eat out sometimes. However, cooking at home can help you save much more than eating out so you can make food at home. Another spent $650-$700 on groceries, lunch, phone bills, and occasional beer at student parties. You may not have to spend up to this if you don’t go out often. 

Transportation costs about $65 (61 CHF) per month if you are commuting within the city zone but can up to $96 (90 CHF) if you live one zone away. You can also cut costs on transportation by getting accommodation that is close to the school so you don’t have to worry about transportation expenses when commuting to the school. This is a good way to reduce transportation costs when going to your school. 

Other Expenses

Apart from living expenses, there are other expenses that you’d need to cover. These include miscellaneous and emergencies such as health issues. It is important to get your health covered through health insurance. 

One of the most important expenses that you need to have covered is your health insurance which usually costs about $200 per month. However, if you are under 26, you can get Swiss Expat Insurance. A student said they paid $600 per month which is $100 per month but you can only do this if you are not above 26 years. When you have your health insurance covered, you will be able to take care of your health regardless of how unexpected health issues arise. 

Wifi is also another expense that you have to prepare for. Not all accommodations have wifi covered in the rent so you may have to pay additional fees for wifi to be able to use the internet. You can budget $80 per month for the internet and phone contract.

You also need to cover other expenses such as clothing, internet, books, home appliances, social activities, books, phones, and membership fees. You can get a phone plan of $25 per month with 1.5GB 4G data which is unlimited but after you have depleted the plan but it can be slow thereafter. 

You may be required to buy certain textbooks that are important to your study so you may want to budget for this also.

While studying and living in Switzerland, there may be activities that you want to experience or be a part of so you can budget around $40-$60 for this per month. You can also budget for expenses that may arise as a result of growing interest or due to necessity.

Comparison to Other Countries

Now that you already have enough knowledge about the costs of your study in Switzerland, we can take a look at the comparison between the cost of studying in Japan and other popular countries.

United Kingdom

The lowest tuition you can find in the U.K schools starts from about $10,000-$12,000. There are lots of prestigious universities in the United Kingdom which partly explains why the tuition is on the high side. Tuition in Switzerland is not expensive so can be affordable for students. 

Some regions in the United Kingdom can be expensive to study and live in such as London. London has high standards of living and can be expensive to live in, unlike Japan. The United Kingdom is quite competitive as a lot of international students move to study there because of its business-oriented nature. 

United States

Tuition fees in the United States are much higher than those in Switzerland. Tuition fees in the United States can be up to $12,000 per year while tuition can be as low as $2,000 in Switzerland and even lower in national or state universities. 

You can work up to 15 hours in Switzerland while there are strict regulations that may not make working as an international student in the U.S an easy one. However, with the right permit in the U.S, you can work up to 20 hours as an international student.


Unlike Switzerland, you can study in Germany at no cost as most schools are tuition-free. However, you will be required to take care of your living expenses which are essential to your study in Germany. From my research, I can see that most international students spend about 700 to 900 pounds ($939 to $1,207)per month on their living expenses. Most international students don’t try to go below this price range or it may be tight for them if they do. If well managed, you may not spend up to this amount in Switzerland.

While studying in Switzerland, you can hear diverse languages such as Italian, French, and German which shows the cultural diversification in Switzerland. This is not usually the same in Germany as most people speak German. 

Also, Switzerland has more quality education than Germany in Europe according to the top best European university ranking. 


Most schools in Norway are tuition-free and like most European countries so all you need to worry about is the living costs. To study in Norway as an international student, you need to budget monthly expenses of $1300 – $1500 as a result of the high standard of living. This is higher compared to average living costs in Japan which are usually between $800-$1000.

Schools are not free in Switzerland, unlike Norway where you don’t have to pay tuition in some schools.  

In Norway, even though the living expenses are the only expenses that you have to worry about, it is almost as high as paying for tuition. You can cut costs on living expenses when you plan and prioritize your expenses in Switzerland

Asides from this, there are also other expenses that you need to pay for such as the student union fee. These also contribute to the study and living expenses in Norway.


Japan can be an affordable country to study in Switzerland. You should budget your money carefully and make sure you are aware of all the costs associated with your study. This will help you prepare appropriately.  Make good use of the information in this article and start planning for your study in Switzerland and make your study abroad dream become a reality.