Universities tested by foreign student influx

Students of economics follow professor Sergio Rossi's
lecture "Macroeconomics I" in the auditorium
J. Deiss, University of Fribourg. 

The rising influx of foreign students to Swiss universities is bringing more international talent to the country. But the debate on who foots the bill for welcoming such bright young minds is tying academics and legislators in knots.
Switzerland prides itself on having some of the lowest tuition fees in the world, subsidised by the federal and cantonal authorities. This gives students access to higher education regardless of income, but taxpayers are also shelling out for foreigners.

Top universities are now bulging at the seams with new students and frequently cry out for more cash to help them cope. At the same time, the proportion of overseas students is constantly rising -  from 23 per cent in 1990 to 38 per cent in 2011.

Swiss universities jostle with international competitors to reel in the brightest overseas talent to boost domestic prowess in science, technology and other fields of research. In addition, business leaders welcome highly educated foreigners to help plug workforce gaps.

But allocating the cost of hosting raw foreign talent has been the subject a long standing - and as yet unresolved - political debate that has run on for years.

- swissinfo.ch


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