As part of the 2025-2028 plan for promoting education, research, and innovation, a Swiss parliamentary committee has proposed tripling the fees for foreign students at the

Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). The decision, passed by the House of Representatives committee with a 21 to 3 vote, aims to increase the EPFL's budget in the coming years.

This proposal, announced on May 18, 2024, also includes a recommendation from the Swiss Federal Council to reduce the institute's funding by CHF 100 million ($110 million) in 2025.

The commission for science, education, and culture is evaluating several options in this context. The chosen approach is to levy fees on foreign students that are three times higher than those for Swiss nationals. A minority faction had advocated for even higher increases, suggesting fees could be raised three to five times the current amount. Conversely, another minority group favors maintaining the Federal Council’s current measures to ensure access for less affluent students. Presently, a semester at EPFL and ETH Zurich costs CHF 730.

In addition to the fee increase, the commission has decided to reduce the budget for international cooperation in education and grants for foreign students and artists by CHF 4 million, due to current budgetary constraints. This decision faced opposition from a minority within the commission, who argue that while fees for new foreign students are being increased, reducing tuition fees is essential to ensuring equal opportunities.

The proposal will be reviewed by the House of Representatives during the first half of the 2024 parliamentary session. Photo by Mediacom EPFL, Wikimedia commons.