The Social and Financial Service provides lump sum financial aid to UNIGE and HES-SO Geneva students whose income is insufficient to enable them to carry out their studies in decent living conditions that are conducive to their success. These grants allow students to continue and complete their studies under acceptable conditions.
Types of assistance available
- Category 1: annual income between CHF 10,000 and CHF 14,999. The amount granted is CHF 800 per month (+ exemption from tutoring tax, CHF 65 instead of CHF 500) for a UNIGE student and CHF 950 for a HES-SO student.
- Category 2: annual income between CHF 15,000 and CHF 18,000. The amount granted is CHF 600 per month for UNIGE and HES-SO students.
- Category 3: all students living as couples with or without children or single parents. Children or spouses living abroad are not included in the scale. The amount granted is subject to the "income-expense" calculation according to the scale in the directive.
This financial aid is paid monthly from September to January and from February to June only to a bank or postal account in Switzerland. In addition, all UNIGE students who receive lump-sum financial aid are automatically exempted from the university tuition fee (CHF 65.- instead of CHF 500.- per semester).
In order to be eligible for monthly financial aid, the student must:
- Be registered at the UNIGE or HES-SO Geneva in a first Bachelor or Master program.
- Not be eligible for a cantonal scholarship in the sense of the LBPE, or have had their application for the current academic year rejected.
- Have successfully completed at least one year of studies at a recognized Swiss university in the same course of study. Changes of course of study due to failure may be admitted subject to the approval of the Scholarship Committee.
- Be financially independent and have an income that is within the grant scales as indicated in the types of grants. The student is considered to be economically independent under the following conditions: to have supported himself/herself through a paid activity and/or other income (scholarships, grants, alimony, etc.) and to provide proof of a minimum annual gross income.
In particular, the following persons are not eligible for monthly financial assistance:
- People enrolled in continuing education.
- Students of the HES-SO Geneva enrolled in bridging or pre-master programs.
- Students who are themselves or their guarantors benefiting from tax immunities in international matters.
All granting criteria are detailed in the Directive (in French), which is the authoritative document.
Finally, a grant may exceptionally be awarded to students who do not meet all of the above criteria in the event of an extreme social emergency. Depending on the case, the Social and Financial Services Department will assist students in applying to a private fund. The many organizations offering support to students are privileged partners of the Department and a possible resource whatever your situation and your request.
Students can apply for monthly financial aid from August 1 to September 30 for the following academic year and from January 15 to February 28 for the spring semester.
The Social and Financial Services Department offers numerous one-time assistance programs to help students get out of temporary and unexpected financial difficulties (sudden and temporary loss of income, unforeseen expenses, etc.). Because we know that unforeseen events can happen during your studies, we offer various types of assistance that take into account the reality of your situation.
Types of assistance available
The one-off aid may be granted on 5 non-cumulative* grounds, namely:
- loss of employment (maximum CHF 600)
- food expenses (CHF 600.- maximum)
- housing expenses (CHF 700.- maximum)
- the cost of study materials* on presentation of supporting documents and a certificate signed by the person responsible for coordinating the course of study or by the study advisor (maximum CHF 600.-)
- urgent health and dental expenses not covered by health insurance (CHF 1,000.- maximum per year, upon presentation of a CUMD estimate)
* The Covid-19 emergency financial aid scheme provides for the possibility of cumulating the different types of financial support.
**The following are considered to be study material costs: the cost of material resources (books, computer, printer, internet subscription, telephone, artistic material, provided that access to these resources is not offered by the school), travel costs related to the studies, as well as study fees and taxes (although students cannot benefit from an exemption, a temporary assistance may be granted in case of unforeseen and proven financial difficulties). Under the Covid-19 emergency financial aid scheme, certificates signed by the schools are no longer required.
- be registered at the UNIGE or the HES-SO Geneva in a first Bachelor, Master or Doctorate program
- demonstrate temporary and unforeseen financial difficulties based on the types of needs listed above
All award criteria are detailed in the Directive, which is the authoritative document.
The purpose of the mobility grant is to enable students, who could not otherwise afford it, to carry out their study project abroad or within the framework of national mobility.
The scholarship is paid on the basis of a minimum of 2 months of mobility and a maximum of 10 months (equivalent to 2 semesters). The student can benefit from a maximum of one mobility scholarship per degree, i.e. only once for a Bachelor's degree and once for a Master's degree.
In order to be eligible for a mobility grant, you must meet the following conditions:
- Be registered at the UNIGE or the HES-SO Geneva and have paid the study fees up to the semester preceding the application.
- Be enrolled in a first Bachelor's or Master's program in a coherent academic course.
- Have successfully completed at least one year of study at a recognized Swiss university in the same program.
- Have validated the required credits during the past year, according to the terms and conditions specified in the study regulations of the program. If necessary, an attestation from the student advisor may be required.
- In the case of national mobility, it must take place outside French-speaking Switzerland, provided that the language spoken at the host university is not the student's mother tongue.
- Proof of employment up to the time of departure. The minimum duration of work must be at least 4 months during the year preceding the application.
- Have a budget of expenses on the spot from the host university.
All the criteria for granting the scholarship are detailed in the directive, which is the authoritative document.
- The submission of applications via the SAFIRE application begins on August 1st of each year. Applications are made for the following academic year. There is no possibility of retroactive application for the previous academic year.
- Applications for mobility grants must be submitted no later than one month before departure, but in no case before August 1st. If the student leaves during the summer to start the academic year, he/she should contact the Social and Financial Services and inform them that he/she will apply for a mobility that he/she has already started.
- A mobility grant cannot be applied for after the departure for the mobility, except in the case mentioned above (departure before August 1st).
Every student registered at the University of Geneva is required to pay a fee of CHF 500 per semester.
This fee is composed of two parts:
- The fixed administrative fee of CHF 65.
- The tutoring fee of CHF 435.
Students in difficult financial situations may ask to be exempted from the tutoring fee. If their request is accepted, the exemption is valid for both academic semesters (fall and spring). Only the administrative fee of CHF 65/semester remains due.
The fixed fee of CHF 65 is mandatory for everyone. We therefore recommend that you pay at least this amount in order to avoid exmatriculation.
Types of tax exemptions
It is possible to benefit from the exemption of the tutoring fees in two ways:
- Automatically: This is a statutory exemption depending on your status during your university studies. Visit the Admissions Office website (in French) for a list of all situations where the exemption is automatic. This type of exemption is managed directly by the Admissions Office.
- Upon request: Any student who is in a difficult financial situation (in French), or who is not receiving a grant or loan, can apply for exemption. If an application for a cantonal grant is pending, one must wait for a negative decision from the canton before applying.
The tax exemption only concerns UNIGE students.
All the criteria for granting it are detailed in the directive, which is the authoritative document.
When to apply?
The application must be submitted between September 15 and 30 of each academic year. If the application is accepted, the exemption is valid for 2 semesters of the academic year.
Once the deadline has passed, the student may apply during the year only in the following cases:
- Following a late registration or for the spring semester (autumn mobility or new registration).
- Following a grant refusal from the canton of Geneva or another canton.
How to apply?
All requests for exemption are made online via the fee exemption request form (in French). This form is available from September 15 to 30 of each academic year. For any technical question concerning the form, you will find a live chat available directly on the form page.
Once the application has been submitted, you will receive an e-mail indicating the rest of the procedure. You will be asked to make an appointment with a manager to submit all the necessary documents to finalize your application. It is important to submit a complete file, otherwise your application will be rejected. You will receive an answer to your request in mid-November. In the meantime, it is important that you pay the fixed administrative fee of CHF 65 in order to avoid an exmatriculation.
If you have any questions, you can contact the person in charge at or at 022 379 77 41.