Finally! Your child has passed their school-leaving exams. No matter how relieved you are, you'll soon have to start scraping your money together. Higher education will put a great strain on your finances. According to the University of Geneva, for example, students should expect to spend a total of 30,084 francs a year. That's the price of university fees and student life. The University of St. Gallen is almost as expensive. It calculates a cost of 27,600 francs per year – which works out at 2,300 per month. ETH Zurich and the Berne Department of Education quote similar amounts.
The tuition and semester fees of colleges and universities may appear manageable at first glance. They are due twice a year, and amount to between 650 and 1,500 francs. However, on top of this, you also have to allow for one-off registration, enrollment and exam fees, as well as voluntary contributions.
It's cheaper to stay living at home
Accommodation costs may well outweigh any other considerations. It's important to bear in mind that students often don't have the financial capacity to pay their own bills such as health insurance premiums – and that large numbers of books and computer programs are generally needed to ensure academic success.
Parents find themselves having to dig even deeper into their pockets if their child leaves home to look for accommodation in their place of study. This is sometimes unavoidable, as certain courses of study are not offered throughout the country. In this case, around 1,000 francs a month of additional expenses are likely – for costs including rent and food.
Parents are not under any obligation, but ...
Of course all parents want to give their children the best possible foundations to enable them to succeed in life. But what are they actually obliged to pay for? From a legal point of view, they must support their children until they have finished their initial education. If this involves attending higher education, it can often take until they are over 25.
Parents are however released from their maintenance obligations once their child is in gainful employment or if resources can be obtained from an inheritance etc. Furthermore, parents do not necessarily have to meet their children's most extravagant educational desires. You can suggest to your children that they should choose a place of study close to home. For those with a limited budget, there are a variety of options available when it comes to applying for grants or loans. As long as the success of the child's studies doesn't suffer, getting a part-time job can be very beneficial to their everyday student life in many ways.
From birth onwards
It's always worth starting to set money aside for your child's studies as early as possible in life – ideally as soon as they are born. Saving 300 francs a month for 20 years at an average interest rate of 2 percent will ultimately represent assets of over 88,000 francs. The UBS Investment Fund Account is a practical solution. You can enjoy higher potential returns by participating in developments on the financial markets.
One advantage of an investment fund account is that making regular payments allows you to avoid any ups and downs on the market. When prices are high, you acquire fewer fund units. If prices hit rock bottom, you acquire more units. Over the years, this will result in more favorable overall prices – this is the cost averaging effect. And if your children study economics, they'll soon be able to explain it all to you in detail!
Tuition and semester fees in CHF
Universitá della Svizzera italiana
University of St. Gallen (Master/Bachelor)
University of Geneva
University of Berne
University of Zurich
720 (semester fees only)
Pädagogische Hochschule Nordwestschweiz
700 (semester fees only)
University of Fribourg