Inside One Of The World’s Most Expensive Boarding School: Institut Le Rosey, The $103,000 Boarding School.

Le Rosey, a boarding school well known across the web, mentioned in several online discussions, articles, columns, etc., has been labeled as the world’s most expensive school consistently. Now, when discussing about private schooling, generally, it always comes in a cost and when living in Switzerland the cost gets even higher. As mentioned by Business Insider, the ten most expensive boarding schools in the world are all in Switzerland. To further our understanding on why such schools are in those price ranges we will case study Le Rosey looking at what a prestigious school has to offer.

14/04/2015. By Bernard Tschumi, [Rolle] Switzerland. Metalocus, Leonor Martin

The Beginning Of Le Rosey

Le Rosey was founded by Paul Carnal in 1880, it is said that he left his native canton Jura since the Bernese were waging a sort of “Kulturkampf” (culture war). So he sought to move to Rolle, a more tolerant and calmer environment, and leasing the castle of Rosey. Eight years later, he seized the opportunity to buy the property and operate a small school which he named: Institut Le Rosey.

His son, Henry Paul Carnal, took over the school after his father and kept it operating even with the happening of World War II. “Nobody was fired. Instead, wages were temporarily halved and the sports fields converted into farmland. Henry Carnal was convinced that Le Rosey had to be ready to start up again at 100% as soon as the war was over. Events proved him right: in 1944, the students returned,” explains Philippe Gudin, advisor to General Direction at Le Rosey.

Looking At The Numbers

Currently, the school educates 420 students from 70 countries. They follow a 10% quota for each nationality, aiming to create a campus mixed with different cultures and languages. In this way, all students will find friends from different countries, since there is no majority when it comes to country or culture. Classes typically have around 10 students.

Furthermore, students – from 8 to 18 years old – choose their classes within a completely bilingual curriculum leading to either the French or International baccalaureate. The school also emphasises that it provides language and literature studies in 25 different mother tongues, to make sure the children stay in touch with native language.

When it comes to tuition fees it differentiates between a student attending it as a boarding school or day school. For boarders the 2022-2023 school year annual fee is CHF 94,500 (≈ $103,000 United States Dollars), meanwhile, for day students annual fees are CHF 51,000 (≈ $56,000 United States Dollars).

Touring The School Campus

The school has two campuses, one in Rolle which is the official school grounds and a second in Gstaad, which is a posh resort in the Bernese Oberland. Students spend their year within the Rolle campus until the winter season arrives, where not only the students relocate but everything with them, this includes: the entire teaching staff, nearly 600 people, to the Gstaad campus.

Rolle Campus

Entrance of the school in Rolle. LE ROSEY

The Rosey campus in Rolle extends over a park of 28 hectares where age-old trees surround the boarding houses and the sports fields.

The students are housed in pleasant rooms, either singles or doubles depending on their age. The girls have their own campus, a few hundred metres from the boys’. The girls’ campus is located in beautiful parkland.

The Juniors (boys and girls aged from 8 to 12) live and study on the main campus in their own large maison. The families of the boarding school teachers live in each house. They are there to listen to the everyday problems big or small of the pupils, and oversee discipline, maintain order and cleanliness and monitor the students’ personal study time.

Le Rosey Campus

The Paul & Henri Carnal Hall

The Paul & Henri Carnal Hall

In 2014, Le Rosey opened the Paul & Henri Carnal Hall. Designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, a vast steel dome brings together three basic creative tools: culture, arts and communication. A large concert and performance hall with 900 seats is used to host conferences, plays, musicals, concerts and of course student performances.

Library of Carnal Hall at Le Rosey

Library of Carnal Hall at Le Rosey

The campus also features a large library with thousands of books, which provides students with a quiet atmosphere for study.

What’s Next For Rolle Campus

They plan to open Science and Entrepreneurship Center next to the Arts & Learning Center in couple of years. This new building will allow the school to upgrade its science labs and collaborative teaching spaces, and it will also host start ups in the new fab-lab, so that students can participate in hands-on projects. Architect Bernard Tschumi has already made sample drawings for this new building.

Winter Gstaad Campus

Winter Gstaad Campus

From January to March since 1916, students and teachers move up to its winter quarters in Gstaad. The school has its own chalets, allowing students and teachers alike to live and work there. As in Rolle, the boys and young girls live on two separate campuses. Le Rosey considers this campus as a revolutionary innovation. “We are the only school that moves its entire campus, including all students and the entire teaching staff, nearly 600 people. The move is appalling to organize, but a tradition that we hold dear and we wish to keep” says Philippe Gudin, advisor to General Direction at Le Rosey.

Thoughts On This

Another prestigious swiss boarding school publicizes a quote by Aldo Gucci, former chairman of Gucci, saying that “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.” Looking at this, it’s difficult to set aside pricing as merely a secondary in front of quality for its something that at most goes hand in hand and never above quality. Schooling doesn’t perfect by its tuition fee rather through an effort by a collection of people (teachers, principals, staff members, etc.) aiming to educate their students in the best means they can and in the desire to provide the best even when they do not have infinite resources. What benefit do these expensive schools provide? A means of networking and meeting the richest of each country (for the quota is 10% of each nationality). So expectations to attend such places go beyond educating, and simply as mentioned networking.

Furthermore, there was a difficulty to find the most expensive school since as noted in the article the pricing for boarder student is expensive however the pricing (while still expensive) for day schooling becomes significantly lower. So to label something as the most expensive school just on its boarding school fee can’t be considered or if considered should be named solely as the most expensive boarding school. To find the most expensive day school is something to look for as it is more of a norm than that of a boarding school.

Such things has and will always remain. Those who can afford would want to elevate their families above everyone else and if it means to pay much more for an education so let it be. It’s not wrong, It’s not right, It’s just how it’s always been.

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