Education Funding

1. Education loan, scholarship - education financing in Switzerland

Education during compulsory schooling is free of charge in Switzerland. However, the person in education or his/her parents are responsible for financing subsequent attendance at higher education institutions or other education and training institutions.

The costs of education vary depending on the institution. In addition, there are necessary expenses, for example for admission fees, library fees or study materials. Furthermore, costs for living expenses, such as rent and food, are incurred during the training. All in all, these costs add up to an average of almost CHF 30,000 per year.

2. Possibilities of financing education

There are various options for financing education in Switzerland.

a. Financing of education by the parents

Parents often finance their child's education through savings or monthly income. If they do not have any funds of their own, some parents resort to a personal loan. This is a loan that is not related to education and for which the parents act as borrowers. As in other cases, they are subjected to a credit check. The result determines the conditions of the personal loan.

In addition to banks, crowdlending platforms such as LEND also offer personal loans. Such a consumer loan from LEND is very flexible to use and convenient to apply for online.

b. Education Loan & Student Loan

Another form of education financing are education loans and student loans. Swiss law stipulates that the applicant must not be threatened with over-indebtedness by taking out a loan. An important criterion in this assessment is the monthly income available. Since this is naturally low for students, education and student loans are rarely offered.

However, there are now providers in this niche. The student specifies the amount of the education loan, the term and the interest rate he or she is willing to pay. If enough investors are found, the loan is paid out. As a rule, only the interest on the loan is paid off during the student's studies. The repayment period, during which the loan instalments are also repaid, usually begins only after the student has completed his or her studies. This keeps the financial burden low during your studies. With an online student loan calculator, you can plan your student loan transparently.

c. Scholarship

In addition, receiving a scholarship is another form of education funding. In Switzerland, the individual cantons are responsible for awarding these grants. Entitlement to cantonal education grants is based on family circumstances and the financial situation of the family and the person in education.

As a rule, only those who are resident in the respective canton under scholarship law, come from a family with modest financial circumstances and are undergoing recognised training are eligible. In addition, there may be age restrictions on the award.

The amount of the scholarship can be calculated according to different systems. In the points system, bonus points (e.g. a weak financial situation) and malus points (e.g. existing assets) are determined and compared. The total number of points determines the award of the scholarship. Under other systems, the difference between living expenses and educational costs is determined. The scholarship is then intended to cover the difference. Furthermore, mixed forms of the two types mentioned can be found.

Information on the requirements for submitting an application can be found on the official pages of the respective canton. For the canton of Zurich, the pages of the Office for Youth and Vocational Guidance provide extensive information on requirements and calculation factors. A scholarship calculator can also be used there to determine in advance how good the chances are of receiving a scholarship.

The websites of most universities, e.g. ETH Zurich or the University of Bern, also offer information on scholarships and financial support during studies.

d. Education Loan

If you do not receive a scholarship, cantons also offer the possibility of a loan. In contrast to a scholarship, the loan must be repaid within a set period of time after completion of the education. The access requirements for educational loans are similar to the scholarship requirements, but are somewhat more generous.

The conditions of education loans are generally more favourable than those of conventional consumer loans. Interest rates on education loans are usually below 5 per cent.

e. Continuing Education Loan

Those who want to finance their further education, for example a second degree, can do so through a further education loan. In addition to banks, crowdlending platforms also offer continuing education loans. They arrange the loan directly between private individuals in an efficient and uncomplicated way.

f. Private foundations & Funds

In addition to cantonal scholarships and loans, there are also private foundations and funds to support education. Different criteria, such as place of residence or regular income, decide on the award. Anyone who receives this support in addition to a cantonal scholarship must inform the scholarship awarding office.

The Canton of Zurich also offers information on funds & foundations on its website.

g. Student work activity

Due to the prevailing educational situation, it is not uncommon in Switzerland to work in addition to your education. Almost half of all students work between half a day and two days a week to earn a living and gain their first professional experience. However, the Bologna system works with tight schedules and thus makes part-time work more difficult.