Grinnell vs U of Arizona vs U of Zurich for CS undergraduate degree

@Alezzz, as someone who has supported my parents since graduating from college (uni), I’d support my parents first in your situation. But if I had excess funds, I see the value in paying $10K/year more for Grinnell. Definitely over U of A and probably over Zurich. But I also have American citizenship. In your situation, I’d pay more for Grinnell only if a PhD is the goal and your son is good enough to get in (sounds like it). Then a fully-funded PhD in the US (or if this country goes fully nativist, Canada).

I think the choose is between Grinnell and U of Zurich. I can’t image housing in Zurich would cost less then 10K a year, possibly more so the difference is much less then 1st glance.

I would choose Grinnell, even though your son would be in rural Iowa he would be surrounded by students from around the world and career services will have lots of experience helping international students. I am attaching the class of 2018 post-graduation report, it goes into great detail by major. Cost of living is very low in Iowa and most activities are free. There are a lot of study abroad options junior year. Grinnell is currently sending all students home due to Covid-19 but in a week I would suggest contacting both the Comp Sci department and career services to answer more specific questions. If he attends Grinnell, he will not only be challenged academically but will learn about “Iowa Nice” (people going above and beyond to help each other).

What I read in the OP is that the price of Grinnell would be 10,000 USD(assuming per year) more than Arizona. The total cost was not mentioned, so it’s hard to debate the $$saved going to Zurich v. going to Grinnell v. U of A.

If the end goal is to have a path to citizenship, SWI is definitely out, but the US, in today’s climate, isn’t easy either. I agree with @Publisher about Canada…they have all sorts of good lower priced, good quality schools, and there is a better road to citizenship there. However, that seems to be off the table.

I would say this, Grinnell is in a very rural area of the US. Grinnell itself will be relatively diverse, but Iowa is anything but. I would guess that Grinnell would be used to having international students, and would be quite supportive. U of A would be more impersonal. I have no idea about Zurich- I would guess that they would be exceptional when it comes to CS. Grinnell would certainly be very good. My SIL (Asian) went to ARI and she came out of it just fine, and went on to get another degree at Illinois.

Well, for permanent residency in the US, he would almost certainly need a graduate degree anyway. Likely means aiming for a funded PhD program (straight from undergrad; at least for American undergrad programs). I don’t know how difficult it is to gain residency in Switzerland.

Even if he gets a student visa to study in the US, that does not assure him that he will be able to get a work visa to work in the US after graduation. Work visas (e.g. H-1B) are available in limited quantities, and involve considerable work and cost for the employer to sponsor. Employers using them as intended mostly hire graduates with PhD or MA/MS degrees, although most of the H-1B visas are consumed by low-end outsourcing companies.

@PurpleTitan : In answer to your post #17: My words are in reference to this thread. The only school offering free tuition is clear.

@Alezz: A CS degree for free or near free tuition from Zurich–ETH is clearly the wiser choice.

I do not think that other posters have carefully read your posts in this thread regarding cost of attendance at Grinnell College–the most expensive among your 3 choices.

Exactly how much will Grinnell College cost per year ?

(i.e. What amount is $10,000 more per year than the cost of the University of Arizona after applying the scholarship award ?)

@Alexx: Please read post #24 above by @ucbalumnus as it is spot on correct.

Where did all the graduate school discussion come from? Most CS grads from good programs are being scooped up as fast as they can be minted. If it’s an angle to get permanent US residence, it’s an expensive, risky one.

As for the LAC experience, it’s real, but what is its tangible value? We aren’t talking equal costs here. You’d be buying a different experience, but not a better CS education and not a better chance at a better job.

Consider one of the most coveted CS degrees is from UC Berkeley. It is a massive, sprawling campus, with giant classes, over 1000 in Intro to CS. It is the antithesis of a LAC.

For me the answer is easy, Zurich. It is one of the most respected technical universities in the world and your best price. They are doing some really cool things in mechatronics. I’d assume that there’s interesting things going on in CS too. He can confront the graduate school question several years down the road.

Good luck.

@Publisher, if you read post #19, Grinnell would be $10K/year more than Zurich or Arizona.

It appears that OP is conflating student visa and work visa. It’s my understanding that getting a student visa doesn’t guarantee a work visa in the US.
And it also appears that at this point, the student has zero roots in the US, is currently studying in German; not sure how tough for him/her studying in English would be.
And don’t understand the graduate school discussion; one of my kids is in CS and while graduate school is great, as #28 points out, it’s not needed.
So agree with publisher and eyemgh; go where it’s least expensive,which would be Switzerland.
Although my caveat is-has the student lived and or even visited Switzerland and the USA?

And my major concern-OP’s "We don’t know your life, your values, your priorities, what is really important in USA and what is just “better to have”.

For this reason alone I’d recommend attending school somewhere you and your student are more comfortable with the location and the location’s life, values, and priorities. And it based on OP’s above sentence, it doesn’t appear to be the USA.

@oldlaw: “And don’t understand the graduate school discussion; one of my kids is in CS and while graduate school is great, as #28 points out, it’s not needed.”

Yes, but your kid is a US citizen/permanent resident, no? For a non-American, getting more OPT is more likely with a graduate degree in the US than with an undergraduate degree in the US. Hence the discussion about grad school.

Well, it’s entirely off point; the OP was asking about undergraduate schools, not graduate schools. But a lot of these threads take on a life of their own.

To put the discussion in American terms, the choice is between Grinnell for 12K/year tuition or UMD/Purdue (with the chance to take CS classes at Caltech) for $2K/year tuition (or UA for $2K/year tuition). Zurich is also a 3Y bachelor’s. That should be something to take in to account as well as you’d save a year’s living expenses.

Actually, laying it out in those terms, unless you really desire the LAC experience (and are deadset on the PhD path), Zurich is the obvious choice. With the money saved, you could pay for a 1Y master’s in the US if you really want to try to work in the US (but no guarantee that you’d be allowed to stay here FT ultimately).

No any problem. I don’t want to hide anything and can give you exact digits.

Tuition fee at Grinnell minus grant - 12000$ per year
Tuition fee at UA minus scholarship - 2000$ per year
Tuition fee at UZH without any grants - near 2000$ per year

Room and Board at Grinnell - 14000$ per year
Room and Board at UA - 12500$ per year
Living cost at Zurich not so easy to estimate because he must rent liveplace himself. From other side it give us some flexibility because we can look for cheaper options. Though “cheaper” and “Zurich” hardly get on together in one place. I think it will be near 15000$ per year, may be more, but I believe no more than 20000$

For medical insurance he must pay everywhere so that don’t make difference

No, you are not right. That is entirely in point. Generally my question not so much about several thousand $ difference. I need to get idea about strategic perspective. What abilities he will get in future if will go to Grinnell, what abilities he will get in future if will go to UZH

That I can tell you. In common case for Belorusian it close to impossible.
But for internationals who graduated from Swiss universities they giving 6 month to find job in Swiss relevant to education. If you manage to did it they will give work visa, and while you working you can live in Swiss. After 10 years you will become permanent resident. Then 2-3 more years - Swiss citizenship. But all 10 years must be in one cantone, in other case counter reseting.
I know that well because cousin of my wife make almost full way. He graduated from Geneva university and now already permanent resident.

That is important moment. Before I thought that he can be confident in 3 years OPT even with barchelor degree, if he will get this degree in USA. But you writing in way that it will depend from his education level and somebodies will. Please help me to understand how it is in real life

I don’t understand well how it work. As I got H-1B visas distributing by lottery. So nothing depend from how strong are you. Does higher level of education can make difference? Or even if he will get master or PhD degree in USA, end of day his future will depend only from rotating lottery drum?

“Before I thought that he can be confident in 3 years OPT even with barchelor degree, if he will get this degree in USA. But you writing in way that it will depend from his education level and somebodies will. Please help me to understand how it is in real life.”