Grants are one-off or repeated cash payments made by the State, foundations or other bodies. Grants are intended for vocational and professional education and training; they do not carry with them the obligation to repay the amounts received.

Unlike subsidies, grants are not paid directly to the training institutions but individually to the participants. Public grants are mostly awarded by cantons that have created the requisite legal bases in their own legislation. The terms and conditions that govern the awarding of grants vary from one canton to another. Generally speaking, the payment depends on the income and wealth of the applicant or of their parents. In addition, special terms and conditions are often imposed regarding the duration and type of training. Cantons also award grants to learners.

Generally speaking, the cantons also grant training loans to complement or replace grants. These loans must be repaid and often bear interest from the end of the training.

Those who complete a preparatory course for a federal examination for a professional qualification qualify for a federal grant (see “Professional education”)