Cost of living

The monthly budget of a single student aged under 25 living in Switzerland is estimated at between CHF 1,500 and CHF 2,500 per month, including accommodation, both in Geneva and in Neuchâtel.

Students also need to take into account several significant expenses that need to be paid at the start of the academic year: student tax, deposit for accommodation, fee for obtaining a student permit, etc.

In Geneva

Table of estimated costs provided by the HES-SO Genève

In Neuchâtel

Table of estimated costs provided by the Université de Neuchâtel 

Bursaries & financial assistance

Financial aid is, as a matter of principle, reserved for the basic degree course. Thus, second degrees (2nd Master’s) do not entitle students to funding. Moreover, most financial aid bodies (providing bursaries) only provide support in the second year of studies. It is therefore recommended that students arrive in Switzerland with sufficient personal means of subsistence for the first year of studies.

In the first instance, students must contact the bursary services for their canton or their country of residence, then the person in charge of this service at the HEM.

Contact person: M. Jean-Eudes Ody
Phone number: +41 22 558 58 39 

Resources open to students in Geneva and Neuchâtel

Service des aides financières (SAFE)

The HES-SO Genève and the Université de Genève offer a financial aid resource aimed at guaranteeing a minimum income to students with low-income backgrounds, while taking the specific needs of HES students into account.

This resource is based around two types of support: monthly aid provided each term and one-off aid for primary needs, enabling students to cover the cost of essentials, accessible throughout the entire academic year. Finally, mobility bursaries are also available, subject to certain conditions.

HES-SO Genève website
Email address 
Phone number: +41 22 379 77 79

Bursary fund of the Haute école de musique

Students who cannot benefit from support from the Service des aides financières (SAFE) can apply to the HEM’s bursary fund. To do so, they must provide proof that they are not eligible for support from a state body in their country of origin, be undertaking a primary degree at HEM, and have successfully completed their first year of studies.

The conditions required for the provision of a bursary include:

  • Successful completion of the first year of studies, with the required ECTS credits validated.
  • Be carrying out paid work.
  • Not be receiving funding for a second degree, even in the event of a change of primary subject.

Students who do not meet these criteria may contact SAFE to obtain advice. By taking a good look at their personal situation, students will be better able to face up to unforeseen circumstances. In certain particularly difficult situation, SAFE can intervene and provide specific assistance, after studying the student’s file.

This fund makes it possible to cover all or some of the education tax, with the exception of any maintenance grant. Application forms are available at the reception desk in the Synagogue and on the intranet. It must be submitted before 30 September in each academic year.

Bursary for excellence in the Swiss Confederation

The bursaries for excellence in the Swiss Confederation are aimed at foreign artists holding a Bachelor’s degree. Each year, the Swiss Confederation offers bursaries rewarding excellence in the field of the arts.

These government bursaries encourage international exchanges and promote collaboration between Switzerland and more than 180 countries. They are allocated by the Commission fédérale des bourses pour étudiant-e-s étrangers / étrangères (CFBE).

Swiss Confederation website

Cantonal bursaries

In Geneva

Applications must be submitted exclusively online, as early as possible in the summer preceding the start of the academic year and within a maximum of six months after the start of the course.

State of Geneva website

In Neuchâtel

Applications for social services must be made via the Guichets sociaux régionaux (GSR). Students should get in touch and submit their applications by email or by telephone.

Canton of Neuchâtel website

Bursary from the HEM’s Association des Amis neuchâtelois

This bursary, reserved for students at the site in Neuchâtel, is aimed at giving them financial support in the context of their educational activities (academy, Masterclasses, etc.), including the equipment they require (purchase and maintenance of an instrument, etc.).

Applications must be submitted to the secretariat of the HEM no later than by 1st March (letter of motivation, CV, budget, supporting documents). The size of each bursary is determined in accordance with the nature and quality of the request.

Contact person: Mr. Jean-Eudes Ody
Phone number: +41 22 558 58 39

European mobility bursary

Students accepted for an exchange may request a European mobility bursary. These grants vary in size depending on the country chosen and the length of the stay, between 2 months and 12 months (mandatory minimum of 2 full months).

This grant is intended to compensate for the additional costs incurred by living abroad, and is not under any circumstances intended to be used as a maintenance grant or studies grant.

The European mobility grants are limited to the places available with the professor desired or other professors teaching the same subject. Taking action early may help to prevent these problems.

HES-SO mobility bursary

In some cases, this bursary tops up the European mobility bursary. For exchanges outside Europe, financial grants may also be approved. For more information, contact the HEM’s head of international relations.