Fees for foreign EPF students may triple

Fees for foreign EPF students may triple
Fees for foreign EPF students may triple

Foreign students who enroll in our federal polytechnic schools (EPF) could well see their study fees increase significantly. Led by the right, the National in fact decided on Wednesday, by 126 votes to 70, that they had to “at least triple”. They would thus increase from 1560 to 4680 francs minimum at EPFL.

“The increase in taxes will give more resources to the EPF. Switzerland is still well below the taxes charged in other countries,” underlined Marie-France Roth Pasquier (Center/FR) for the committee. The right also recalled that taxes were sometimes 30 times higher elsewhere.

The Greens were opposed to this increase. “We are attacking the very autonomy of these higher education institutions,” protested Fabien Fivaz (Greens/NE). He was also worried about the impact of a tripling of taxes on the number of students and on the “rating” of the EPFs. “The only certainty we have is that as most ratings take into account the number of students, they will inevitably go down.”

On the other hand, National refused to follow a UDC proposal which would have wanted these study taxes to be five times more expensive. “The proportion of the number of foreign students is increasing every year. To be able to continue to be trained and integrated into the economic world, they must have access to sufficient laboratories for practical work and classrooms. The limits have already been reached,” said Sylvain Freymond (UDC/VD) in vain.

The National also refused a proposal from the same party which wanted foreign students at all higher education institutions to also see their taxes tripled.

The Council of States has yet to decide.

100 million more for the EPF

The People’s Chamber made this decision as part of the examination of the Training, Research and Innovation (FRI) message. A message with 12 federal decrees for an amount of 29.2 billion for the period 2025-2028. Due to the Confederation’s strained finances, Berne had decided to reduce its contribution to the ETH domain by 100 million in 2025. A reduction which was refused by the National. “The risk is great for the ETHs that they will not be able to continue their efforts in the field of artificial intelligence,” successfully argued Regine Sauter (PLR/ZH).

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