How to Study in Switzerland for Free (7 Steps)

Switzerland is one of the most unique countries in the world. While it is far from being the largest or the most influential European state, its vivid nature and impeccable quality of life have been stimulating human minds for decades. In comparison to many other countries boasting similar size, Switzerland – more precisely, its government – has managed to achieve great economic success and financial stability. The name it holds in the worldwide arena is the reason why so many prospective students turn their eyes to the country. In this article, we will be going over how to study for free in Switzerland.

How to Study in Switzerland for Free

1. Main Points to Note

While it is understandable why a person may choose to come to Switzerland, it is also necessary to understand the hardships that come with the decision.

Firstly, it is common knowledge that the country is extremely expensive, which is nothing but the fallout of the terrific economic growth. A student should expect to spend over $1,200 per month on their general expenses; truly, the sky is the limit. Consequently, even if they manage to receive a scholarship, they must be ready to support themselves for the duration of the studies.

Secondly, due to the size of the country, the selection of colleges and universities is limited to a few instances. Luckily, the quality of the schools is top-notch, which means that most will be able to seek out a program that suits their interests.

2. Apply to Affordable Universities in Switzerland

Opposite to many educational institutions in other European countries, most universities in Switzerland do not charge tuition fees to international students. Although not all universities follow this, but there is a plethora of schools that provide such a relief. Moreover, the general cost of undergraduate degree education is on par with most of the EU counterparts. The average tuition fee for most Bachelor’s degree programs stays within the range of $800-1,200 per year (see more). If you are interested, learn about Cheap Universities in Switzerland for International Students.

The applicant is encouraged to get in touch with institutions, research their websites thoroughly and acquire as much data as possible. Attending affordable universities in Switzerland can definitely help you to study in Switzerland for free.

3. Apply to Several Swiss Universities to Increase your Chances

Some of the most prestigious educational institutions in Switzerland are ETH Zurich, the University of Geneva and the University of Zurich (UZH). The tuition fee for all the universities sits around $700 per semester. There is a wide variety of options for financial aid available, however. The schools also have English-taught programs, allowing for an easier integration for an international student (some local institutions present material exclusively in French). The universities are well-known all across the country and beyond its borders, thus, guaranteeing the alumni a successful career after graduation.

 4. Job Opportunities in Switzerland

The Swiss government has put forward an initiative that helps to ensure working places for the Swiss nationals. While it does help the locals to stay active in the job market, it has harmed the international students coming to the country. While the EU nationals are allowed to seek employment relatively freely, the non-EU citizens have to refrain for taking part in any work-related activities during their time in a university.

There are exceptions, however. According to the State Secretariat for Migration, a highly qualified specialist may apply for a special permit, which might be a viable option for graduate program students. The SEM website offers more information on the subject.

5. Find Cheaper Accommodation

The prices of accommodation in Switzerland fluctuate dramatically depending on the region and the type of living quarters. It is possible to find a flat in Zurich for $400-500 per month, while a similar space in Winterthur may cost almost twice as much (the information provided by WOKO). Finding cheap accommodation can definitely help you to study for free in Switzerland combined with scholarships and work opportunities.

The important feature of most Swiss universities is that the institutions rarely offer student accommodation. Most of the universities work with third-party companies which rent out housing to students. If a student wants to rent an apartment through such an organization, they must first verify the validity of the firm, as the online market, in particular, is filled with fraudsters (UZH even warns about it on their page).

6. Be Careful with your application

Many factors must be taken into account before the submission. Of course, the expected procedures are as follows: check the correctness of all the paperwork; get the documentation translated into French if it has been requested by the school; complete any additional examinations.

The other important part of creating a splendid application is ensuring the quality of your scores, which is critical in your success of studying in Switzerland for free. Many school students make the mistake of not working hard enough to achieve high grades during their final year. They often realize the importance of these marks only after the day of graduation, and it is already too late then, as there is no way to affect the scores.

Therefore, the future applicant has to take their desire to acquire a higher education seriously. They must prepare in advance, work intensively throughout the final year at school, and try to receive as many academic awards and out-of-class achievements as possible.

7. Apply for Scholarships in Switzerland

Apply for a scholarship. There are always ways to receive financial aid either through the university or an international organization. Subject to the region of origin of the applicant, they may attempt to receive monetary support from such foundations as UNESCO Fellowships (for Japanese, Chinese, Korean students), IOE Commonwealth Scholarship (for African students from select countries) and many more. Requesting financial aid from the country of origin may also be an option. These schoalrships will be your most effective method of studying in Switzerland for free.


Considering the overall cost of living in Switzerland, it is best to avoid participating in the majority of tourism-related activities. Unless financially viable, a student should stay clear of travelling and exploring the country; instead, it is best to find a part-time job. The prices in the local shops may also seem steep, therefore a student may choose to order items like daily necessities and articles of clothing through the international online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. It is also a good idea to ask the locals for some guidance in regard to how to decrease the daily expenses.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.