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Student Financial Aid Office

Budget Planning


You should draw up a personal budget no later than when you select your study program. For general questions, you can refer to the example budget on our website. You can also get information from academic advisors or the student association of the study program you are interested in. Both can advise you as to whether it's realistic to hold down a part-time job while studying.

Once you've created a budget, discuss any financial gaps with your parents. Experience shows that these discussions are more productive when you are well prepared.

Budget template Excel (in German) (XLSX, 32 KB)
Budget template PDF (in German) (PDF, 113 KB)

1. Own income

Please refer to the information in theStudying & Working Part Time section. Depending on your program and personal living situation, it should be possible to earn around CHF 500 per month on the side.

2. Housing costs

Your housing situation has a big influence on what your budget looks like. Housing in the city of Zurich is very expensive. You should plan to spend CHF 500-850 per month on housing. Sharing an apartment with roommates outside of the city is usually cheaper than having your own place near the university. If you are planning to live on the minimum recommended amount of 2,000 CHF per month, you will have little money for rent, which means that you will need to be more frugal in other areas.

Please note: Cantonal scholarship offices usually do not fund housing costs outside of the parents’ home for students under the age of 25. There are exceptions, usually for excessively long commutes to the university or for cramped living conditions.

3. Insurance

  • Health insurance (basic insurance required by law KVG)
    For basic health insurance, you should plan to spend between CHF 100-500 per month. The premiums differ based on various factors, including where you live, and are determined at the beginning of each year. The cost for premiums is on the rise.

    In addition to the premiums, you will have to pay the deductible in the amount that you chose as well as a contribution of CHF 700 if you get sick.
    You should only choose the highest deductible if you have the money in savings!

  • Insurance (supplementary insurance)
    If your budget permits, you can choose to have a voluntary supplementary insurance policy. Each supplementary policy comes with a range of benefits. Costs can vary widely.

    You should check whether you're entitled to subsidies on your premiums. The website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) contains more information: FOPH - Health insurance: Premium subsidies

    Foreign students from the EU/EFTA can apply for an exemption to the mandatory insurance requirement if they already have health insurance in their country of origin. You can obtain more information from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH):FOPH - Health insurance: Foreign students in Switzerland

  • Supplementary dental insurance
    In Switzerland, the costs for dental treatment are not covered by basic insurance. Supplementary dental insurance is very expensive and usually not advisable.
  • Accident insurance (UV)
    It's mandatory to have accident insurance in Switzerland. If you work for the same employer for a minimum of eight hours per week, you are automatically covered. If you don't work or work too few hours, you will need to take out an accident insurance policy from your health insurer.

  • Contributions to social insurance (AHV/IV/EO/ALV)
    You will need to pay contributions to social insurance from any income that you earn. This applies to everyone earning money from 1 January after their 17th birthday. For those not earning income, this applies from 1 January after their 20th birthday. Students who are not working are obligated to pay social insurance contributions from this point on.

    The Information Centre Old-Age and Disability Insurance (AHV/IV) provides more details in a fact sheet for students:Information Centre AHV/IV - Contributions from students to the AHV, the IV the EO (in German)

4. Cantonal scholarships

If you and your parents objectively cannot finance your studies, or can only finance them in part, you can apply for a scholarship from your canton.

The scholarship amount depends on many factors, including your parents’ income and assets, your own financial situation, whether you have siblings obtaining their initial education, how old you are, etc.

5. Education allowances and child allowances

Education allowances and child allowances are paid out in Switzerland until the age of 25.

  • Education allowances
    Education allowances are part of one’s income. Parents who are not employed can also apply for education allowances. These allowances are a minimum of CHF 250 per month and must be used to fund your education. If your parents do not comply with this, you can apply to have the funds directly transferred to your bank account. Be sure to discuss the matter with your parents beforehand.

    Please note: If your income is too high, your parents will lose their entitlement to an education allowance. The limit is set at CHF 2,390 (2023) gross per month. If you're not sure whether your parents are receiving an education allowance for you, you can consult the family allowance register at the Federal Social Insurance Office (BSV):BSV - Familienzulagenregister (in German)
  • Child allowances
    If one or both of your parents is receiving a disability or old-age pension (AHV/IV) or another pension payment, you are entitled to receive a child allowances while you are completing your initial education. The amount varies.

    Please note: You have to actively apply to receive a child allowances. If your parents are not using the child allowances to fund your education, you can also apply to have the amount transferred directly to you. Be sure to discuss the matter with your parents beforehand.

6. Unemployment (loss of your part-time job)

If you held a part-time job for at least 12 months over the past two years and have lost this job, you can check whether you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits. However, you need to be willing and able to take on a job similar to the one you are claiming unemployment for.

More Information on the website of the Information Centre AHV/IV: Information Centre AHV/IV - Unemployment insurance (ALV)

7. Welfare payments

In Switzerland, scholarships are preferred to welfare payments. This means that students usually cannot receive welfare. However, there are some municipalities or special situations in which this does not apply.

8. Debt

There are some situations in which it makes sense to take on debt. However, this does not apply to consumer purchases or to basic student financing. Debt can ruin your budget over the long term or make you dependent. You should plan your budget so that you don't have to take on any debt.

Plan your budget (together)

We can plan with you to finance your studies in a realistic way, and we will also review the budget you’ve created. Get in touch with us to make an appointment. Contact