In Switzerland, the canton of origin fronts most of the costs for students to attend university (i.e. Bern would have to pay for a student to study in Zurich). According to Dell’Ambrogio, the Federal state pays more or less twenty percent of students’ schooling. Tuition rates for Swiss university students are relatively low, typically ranging between 500-1,000 Francs per semester.
Financing is perhaps the most controversial issue in Swiss higher education. The Federal student union’s primary concern right now is with student tuition costs–they are hoping for a national discussion which can spur subnational conversations and subsequent action. Dermont believes that education should be free, especially considering education is Switzerland’s top export.
Dell’Ambrogio noted that people naturally ask for more money in politics; if tuition rates were raised though, the amount of scholarship funds for lower income students would likely increase as well.
One point in favor of moderate tuition rates was suggested in our discussion with Dr. Christoph von Arb: although excessive tuition rates can burden university students, having students pay out-of-pocket might work as an incentive for performing well in school.