Public education expenditure

In 2016, the Confederation, cantons and communes spent CHF 37.2 billion on education. This amount corresponds to 17,5% of the total public expenditure and 5,6% of the gross domestic product. 
Education is not always funded directly, but also in the form of contributions towards the expenditure undertaken by other administrative levels. In 2016, for example, the Confederation invested a total of CHF 6.4 billion for education, of which CHF 3.6 billion have been spent directly and CHF 2.8 billion via the cantons.

In Switzerland 91% of expenditure on education is incurred as current expenses, the remaining 9% as investments. With CHF 25 billion, 67% of total education expenditure is spent on staff salaries.
In the distribution of public expenditure on education according to the degree of education compulsory schooling represents the most important part.

Public education expenditure by the administrative level making the expenditure and the educational level, 2016
in CHF millions Confederation Cantons Communes Total in %
Total  3’640 23’472 10’061 100.0
   of which salaries 2’021 16’921 5’794 66.5
Compulsory education and special schools 16 8’632 9’829 49.7
Upper secondary level 85 5’683 181 16.0
Tertiary level 1’160 7’296 5 22.8
Research 2’372 1’351 2 10.0
Non-attributable expenditure 8 510 44 1.5
Sources: FSO - Public education expenditure (ÖBA); FFA - Financial Statistics

At national level the public education expenditure of the financial statistics of the Federal Finance Administration is the only data source that enables a uniform analysis of education finance from primary to university. It is completed with the higher education funding statistics (Finances and costs of higher education) that covers both public and private funding.


Federal Statistical Office Section Educational Processes
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CH-2010 Neuchâtel
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