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Student Financial Aid Office


Who is responsible for funding my studies?

You will need to contribute to covering the cost of your studies, depending on your abilities and your degree program.

In Switzerland, your parents are legally obligated to financially support you during your initial education. The extent of this support depends on their objective financial situation. Their obligation to support you applies until the end of your studies (initial education). If it's your first time at university, this applies until the end of your Master’s program.

If neither you nor your parents have sufficient financial resources, the government will provide scholarships or loans. The University of Zurich also provides financial support to its students. This only applies to situations in which all other options have been exhausted and for students who fulfill the basic requirements for receiving Financial Support.

1. Maintenance obligation

  • Maintenance obligation – parents
    Your parents' maintenance obligation during your studies generally applies until you obtain your first university degree/qualification and is not dependent on your age (Art. 276 – 277 Swiss Civil Code). The older you are, the more you can be expected to be self-sufficient. Your parents are obligated to continue supporting you even after the age of 25.

  • Maintenance obligation – spouse
    Spouses are obligated to provide one another with mutual financial support (Art. 163 et seq. SCC). They are both responsible for financially supporting any children they may have. For this reason, the financial situation of a student’s spouse is taken into consideration when awarding scholarships, as is the cost of supporting children.

2. Obligation to cover your personal costs as a student (in German: «Eigenleistung»)

Students are responsible for financing their own studies insofar as it's reasonable to do so. Reasonableness can be considered in the following context: Full-time studies require a time investment of around 1,500-1,800 hours per year. The is equivalent to a work week of around 32 to 38 hours including five weeks of vacation.

3. Cantonal scholarships

If neither you nor your parents are objectively in a position to finance your initial education, you can usually apply for a scholarship in the canton in which your parents reside.

Current information and regulations for all of Switzerland can be found on the website of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Directors of Education (EDK): EDK - Scholarships (in German) 

4. Loans and scholarships from UZH

The UZH Student Financial Aid Office can provide supplementary financial assistance in addition to support from your parents or the government. This support is granted under consideration of your income and any assets that you may have.

Generally it's possible to receive a scholarship if your parents’ income (taxable income at the federal level) does not exceed CHF 86,000 and if their assets do not exceed CHF 300,000 (according to state and municipal tax). Different values apply if you have siblings who are still obtaining their initial education or if your parents are divorced.

There is no legal entitlement to scholarships or loans granted by the Student Financial Aid Office.

5. Private foundations and funds

Scholarships from private foundations can be an option if you cannot obtain financial support from your parents, the government or the university. We recommend that you search for foundations according to their mission (e.g., education, training, young adults) and that you avoid fee-based scholarship platforms. All of this information is available online free of charge. The cantons and the federal government publish directories of foundations. We cannot put you in contact with any foundations.

Are your parents not providing financial support?

If you can't reach an agreement with your parents, we will try to help you find a solution. Get in touch with us by phone. After discussing your case, we will be happy to schedule an appointment to advise you on your situation Contact. These consultations are free of charge and confidential. We do not offer advice for or with parents.

You might also find the FAQ – Parental Maintenance Obligation on our website helpful.