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EDUCATION

Swiss want Berlin to pay for German students

The Swiss government has called on Germany to pay for the 10,000 German students who study in the country and are costing its universities up to €40,000 (48,000 francs) per degree.

Swiss want Berlin to pay for German students
A new crop of students is welcomed to the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (Photo: EPFL/Alain Herzog)

Swiss colleges receive government funding for domestic students – but not for foreigners, leaving them with budget problems when Germans attend, possibly to escape chronic overcrowding at home and to get a degree from high-ranking universities.

Now, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Tuesday, the Swiss government is calling on the Germans to match the funding of between €8,000 and €40,000 it pays per student, depending on their degrees.

“Exploratory talks” have already been held between the two countries to discuss the possibility of Germany paying for students who embark on a degree in Switzerland, said Swiss Education Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio.

Swiss nationals studying at German universities would theoretically be paid for by their government in return, he added. As there are far fewer Swiss coming to Germany to study, this set-up would leave the German government as a net contributor.

The country had, the senator said, put measures in place to deter foreign students. Zurich University charges Germans just over €400 more than Swiss students per semester, and others only accept students with top grades.

Dell’Ambrogio told the paper that “a Europe-wide solution was not realistic,” and suggested Germany might resist a bilateral agreement as it might trigger its other neighbouring countries to ask for a similar set-up.

In Austria, universities introduced a quota for how many foreign students could study medicine in 2007. And in Belgium, similar thoughts are percolating through higher education establishments as they educate increasing numbers of French students.

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EDUCATION

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the ‘best university in continental Europe’

A new international survey of universities has ranked Zurich’s Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) the highest in the world outside the US and the UK. How does this school excel?

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the 'best university in continental Europe'
ETH's main hall. Photo by Zurich.ch

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022 have placed ETH in the 15th place (out of 1,600 surveyed worldwide). The school dropped from the 14th-place ranking the previous year.

Universities in the United Kingdom and the United States hold all of the top rankings ahead of ETH Zurich.

But as the top 14 are not in continental Europe, this means ETH has the unofficial title of the of best in Europe.

What is ETH and what does it do?

It is a public research university focusing exclusively on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

It has a “sister” school located in Lausanne, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which specialises in natural sciences and engineering. 

The EPFL ranked in the 40th place in the survey.

Why has ETH scored so high in the study?

“Our strategy is derived from our federal mandate to conduct fundamental research, train specialists and transfer new knowledge to the economy and society,” said ETH President Joël Mesot.

University ranking methodology is based on scores for high-​level indicators relating to teaching, research, international perspective, and collaboration with industry.

“ETH’s overall scores show improvement in teaching, research, and publication citations”, the university’s rankings expert Paul Cross said.

However, it dropped slightly in terms of industry income and international outlook.

“Competition is fierce at the top tier of the rankings”, Cross noted. 

Here are some interesting facts about ETH:

  • It was founded in 1855 by the Swiss government to train engineers and scientists.
  • Today 18,000 students from over 100 different countries study at ETZ, 3,800 of whom are doctoral students.
  • So far, 21 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to researchers who have or had a connection with ETH Zurich.
  • While tuition in the top-ranking schools in the UK — Oxford and Cambridge — costs well over 10,000 francs each year, and in the in the US universities, such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford and Caltech, the annual tuition exceeds 50,000 a year, at ETH it is 1,460 francs.

In all, Switzerland is home to seven of the world’s top universities. Aside from ETH and EPFL, they are University of Zurich (75th place), University of Bern (101st), Universities of Basel and Geneva (103rd), University of Lausanne (176th).

Complete ranking can be seen here.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland leads the world in innovation (Partner content)

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