Financial service

How much does it cost to study in Geneva?

Vue sur le lac et le jet d'eau de Genève.

Estimate your expenses

Estimating the cost of living in Geneva is not always easy, even when you have lived there forever. The transition to young adult life and the entry into higher education sometimes holds surprises and reveals higher than expected expenses. To help you evaluate the expenses of a UNIGE or HES-SO Geneva student, here is a reference table to help you establish your budget.

Average expenditure budget for studying in Geneva
This table describes the situation of a person living alone in Geneva in student housing.
Type of expenseMonthlyYearly (12 months)Details
Tuition fee CHF 83 CHF 1000 Count CHF 11 per month for UNIGE students who are exempted from taxes.
Education expenses
(material, support, etc.)
CHF 83 CHF 1000 For HES, part of the tuition fee is added to the tax.
Health Insurance CHF 1191 CHF 1'428 For students with a student permit B.
CHF 3722 CHF 4'464 For Swiss students or ex-officio affiliates.
Rent CHF 700 CHF 8400  
Public Transportation CHF 453 CHF 450 The price of the annual TPG subscription is CHF 450.
Maintenance CHF 1'000 CHF 12'000 Maintenance includes food, pocket money, clothing, electricity, telephone, household maintenance, personal care, hygiene, and other services.
Insurance Deductible
and medical expenses
CHF 33 CHF 400 See our advice on this subject in the section Establishing my budget below.
Total CHF 2'063 CHF 24'756 For students with a student permit B.
CHF 2'316 CHF 27'792 For Swiss students

1After 30 years of age, the amount is CHF 177 per month.
2After 25 years of age, the amount is CHF 483 per month.
3After 25 years of age, the amount is CHF 70 per month.

Establish your budget

Regardless of your financial situation, the evaluation of your real needs requires the establishment of a budget. It is a key step and a necessary step to review your financial situation. We will advise you in this step-by-step process.

1. List all your income

Setting a realistic budget starts by listing all your possible income over the course of a month (or a year and dividing by 12), i.e. all your income and available resources:

  • Salaries
  • Help from parents
  • Help from someone else
  • Health insurance subsidies
  • Housing assistance
  • Other pension (widow's pension, orphan's pension, parents' DI pension, etc.).
  • Scholarships
  • Loans
  • Other resources

2. List all your expenses

Above is an indicative table of expenses for students. Your spending budget will essentially vary according to the following parameters:

  • The composition of your family group: Do you live with your parents? Are there any siblings? Are you married? Do you have children?
  • Rent: Do you live alone? Do you live with a roommate? Do you share the rent? Do you live in a student room?
  • Age: After the age of 25, Swiss students lose a lot of social benefits: there are no more family allowances or pensions from social insurance, health insurance subsidies are drastically reduced, public transport fares increase, etc. At the age of 25, your budget changes.
  • Your health insurance: If you are a foreign student, you can benefit from certain price advantages in terms of health and liability insurance. As the prices of Swiss health insurance are very high, you should ask for information!

To have a better idea of your expenses according to your situation and to have a some support to prepare your budget, we offer you a form (in French) that will allow you to simulate your situation, which you can download at the bottom of the page. In case of problems, ask our social workers for advice.

3. Look at the whole picture and be realistic!

Be honest with yourself, both in terms of income and expenses. By being realistic, you will be able to immediately spot if there is a problem with your budget, and begin to consider concrete solutions. Here are a few tips:

  • Remember that the values suggested by our department in terms of expenses are the indispensable expenses and therefore the minimum budget for a student in a given situation.
  • You may have a particular activity that requires particular expenses. For example, the practice of an elite sport, or visiting your parents with a trip by train or plane, how often you travel, etc...
  • Eating for CHF 100 per month is not realistic!
  • Estimating that you have no health expenses because you never get sick is not realistic either!

Managing your budget

Sometimes it can be difficult to manage a budget when you have bi-monthly, biennial or annual bills. We tend to forget them when calculating the budget. If this is your case, ask creditors for the possibility of making monthly payments.

To be able to manage your budget, you need to be able to be clear about your accounts.

  • Create a budget management binder. Keep your payments and invoices in this binder, separating each category with tabs (insurance, maintenance, education expenses, rent, etc.).
  • Do your accounts at the end of the month: do you always have the same budget? Have your expenses increased?
  • Pay your rent and bills every month. In your binder, make copies of the bills and mark "paid" in large print when you have done so.
  • Check your bank account regularly. Some banks offer e-banking tools that allow you to view your budget and expenses. You can also set up automatic payments to make sure you pay the most important items (e.g. rent).

You can also:

  • Compare subscription prices (telephone, internet).
  • Take advantage of cultural and sports offers for students (cinema, theater), thanks to your student card.
  • Shop together with other students and share the cost of meals: it costs much less than prepared meals.
  • Try to save a little money every month: it can be useful in case of emergency or for the next vacations.

Ask for help before you get into an unmanageable situation. Contact us now!


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