A question that is often asked by those who are not acquainted with the institutes of higher education in Europe is the difference between a conservatory and a "Hochschule". In short, a conservatory is an autonomous institute that is not necessarily required to recognize the credits earned in other conservatories. In addition its credits are not necessarily recognized by other institutions. The Hochschul-System differs in this respect in that when an institute is accepted into the landscape network of "Hochschulen" the credits a student earns are automatically accepted by other institutions. The system facilitates tranfers to other schools in the network. Hypothetically a student can do his first three years of basic studies at school one and then transfer to school two. All credits earned at the first institute will be acknowledged by the second.

In the fall of 2005, a Bachelors-Masters system was initiated in the Swiss "Hochschulen". The Bachelors degree will be a three-year course and the Masters can be achieved two years later. Because each student can be subsidized for a maximum of 14 semesters, a second Masters or a Doctorate can be attained afterwards.

In Switzerland the institutions of higher learning are subsidized. As a matter of fact, the only costs besides room and board are student fees, which amount to about 2000 Franks per year. When the entrance examination has been passed, it is equivalent to receiving a full scholarschip for the entire course of studies.