Scenarios for higher education institutions – Students and graduates

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on several factors affecting developments in Swiss higher education institutions. In addition to the question of whether these factors will return to the pre-COVID-19 situation, the current situation also presents great uncertainties. The greatest uncertainty concerns the very high increase in 2021 in the number of university entrants from abroad at Master's level and the possible continuation of this trend in the future. The new 2022-2031 scenarios for higher education institutions try to take into account the impact of these changes on the number of students and qualifications.

New scenarios

The COVID-10 pandemic had a major impact on several factors affecting developments in Swiss higher education institutions and numbers grew by +4.8% in 2020 (+12 400 students). The number of students continued to rise in 2021 (+2.3%), in particular due to the very large increase in admissions of foreign students to the universities at master level (+25% in 2021).

According to the reference scenario, a moderate increase in the number of students was expected for 2022 (+0.5%). Numbers should then increase by an annual average of 1.5% as a result of demographic growth and a continuation of the trends currently observed. They should rise to around 320 000 students in 2031 (276 600 in 2021), i.e. growth of more than 15% over the 2021-2031 period: +15% in the universities and institutes of technology (UNI), + 13% in the universities of applied science (UAS) and + 26% in the universities of teacher education (UTE).

Regarding new graduates, the largest increases over ten years should be recorded in the "Information and communication technology" field of study at the UNI (doubling the number of Master's degrees awarded between 2021 and 2031, i.e. +640 degrees), in the "Nursing" field of study at the UAS (+34% Bachelor's degrees awarded, i.e. +430 degrees) and in the "Pre-school and primary school teaching" field of study at the UTE (+32% Bachelor's degrees awarded, i.e. + 900 degrees).

Statistical sources and concepts


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