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Social et Finances

Coronavirus: emergency financial aid

Version française ici.

Emergency financial aid is available to UNIGE and HES-SO Geneva students, in accordance with the directives on one-off financial aid and their addenda. Students can request this emergency financial aid if, because of the coronavirus measures in place, they are in financial difficulty or no longer have the income to meet their needs.

The Ernst and Lucie Schmidheiny Foundation, the Fondation Ernest Boninchi, the Philanthropic Fondation of the French of Switzerland, the Maurice Chalumeau fund, the Fondation Primat, the Fondation Zdenek et Michaela Bakala and the University's general fund have generously pledged up to CHF 2 millions to help students experiencing financial difficulties. The support plan of the University of Geneva as well as the important financial aid scheme made available to its students by the HES-SO Geneva are renewable on a monthly basis and may, according to the criteria of each institution, be extended to July-August.

What are the different types of support?

Income replacement

If you have lost your job because of the restrictions put in place by the federal and cantonal authorities, and your income is not covered by the measures brought in by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), you can request emergency financial aid of up to CHF 600 per month. This aid may be granted on presentation of proof(s) of loss of employment as well as the last three pay slips and will be calculated on the basis of any other allowances received.

Medical expenses

You can request emergency aid of up to CHF 600 to cover medical expenses related to COVID-19. Other medical expenses are covered by the University's regular one-off aid. This aid may be granted on presentation of estimates or individual invoices.

IT equipment

If you don't have the material resources you need to take your classes online (e.g. a computer, internet connection or phone), you can request emergency aid of up to CHF 600. This aid may be granted on presentation of estimates or individual invoices.

Housing aid

If you are in financial difficulty (because, for example, you have lost some or all of your income, your housing does not offer suitable connection for remote learning or the exchange you are on has been affected by the coronavirus crisis), you can request up to CHF 700 per month to cover your rent. This aid may be granted on presentation of proof(s) of rental lease.

Grant extension

If you are already receiving a grant and will have to retake your exams in the August-September session because you failed them during the May-June session, you may be entitled to a one-off extension of your grant.

Those different types of aid can be combined.

Income replacement

If you have lost your job because of the restrictions put in place by the federal and cantonal authorities, and your income is not covered by the measures brought in by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), you can request emergency financial aid of up to CHF 600 per month. This aid may be granted on presentation of proof(s) of loss of employment as well as the last three pay slips and will be calculated on the basis of any other allowances received.

Medical expenses

You can request emergency aid of up to CHF 600 to cover medical expenses related to COVID-19. Other medical expenses are covered by the University's regular one-off aid. This aid may be granted on presentation of estimates or individual invoices.

IT equipment

If you don't have the material resources you need to take your classes online (e.g. a computer, internet connection, phone or other specific equipment), you can request emergency aid of up to CHF 600. This aid may be granted on presentation of estimates or individual invoices.

Housing aid

If you are in financial difficulty (because, for example, you have lost some or all of your income, your housing does not offer suitable connection for remote learning or the exchange you are on has been affected by the coronavirus crisis), you can request up to CHF 700 per month to cover your rent. This aid may be granted on presentation of proof(s) of rental lease.

Grant extension

If you are already receiving a grant and will have to retake your exams in the August-September session because you failed them during the May-June session, or if your exams have been postponed in August-September by your school, you may be entitled to a one-off extension of your grant.

In this case, the extension is made in the form of a forfeit. This package amounts to CHF 600/month, i.e. a maximum of CHF 1'200 for July and August.

Those different types of aid can be combined.

How to request aid?

Any application for financial aid must be submitted through the online form (in French only).

The form only takes pdf documents. See the FAQs below to find out how to scan your documents to pdf with your smartphone, or to convert your images to pdf.

Make sure your application is complete. We are currently receiving a very large number of applications and are doing our best to respond as quickly as possible. Providing as complete a file as possible will allow us to process your application and the applications of others more quickly. All applications will be addressed.

Please read the FAQs below carefully. Only contact us by email if you have not found the answer to your questions on this page.

UNIGE Students can view the status of their application on the Student Portal ("My Unige" tab). HES-SO Geneva Students can view the status of your application here.

Extension for July-August

The emergency financial aid is extended for July and August, but any extension must be requested. There is no automatic renewal.
To apply for an extension of financial assistance, contact your referral social worker by e-mail.

Frequently Asked questions

In addition to all the documents requested directly in the form, do not forget to add in the section "Other info":

  • A cover letter clearly stating the subject "COVID-19 - Grant Extension" and explaining your situation.
  • Your transcript for the June exam session as soon as you have it.
  • Any other evidence of the situation and the need to extend your grant.

Any extension of assistance for July and August must be applied for. There is no automatic renewal.

Contact by e-mail the social worker who handled your application for a grant or other financial assistance.

Under no circumstances will grants be stopped until the end of the semester.

In addition to all the documents requested directly in the form, do not forget to add in the section "Other info":

  • A cover letter clearly stating the subject "COVID-19 - Income Replacement".
  • In the income section: at least your last three pay slips (January, February and March 2020).
    If you were not working in the first months of 2020, but had a planned contract, provide your 2019 earnings and cancelled contracts for this period.
    Signed attestations from your employer are accepted when you cannot provide pay slips.
  • Proof of job loss (e.g. email from employer).

In addition to all the documents requested directly in the form, do not forget to add in the section "Other info":

  • A cover letter clearly stating the subject "COVID-19 - Housing Aid".
  • The payment slip for the rent(s) concerned.
  • Proof of payment of the last rent you paid.

In addition to all the documents requested directly in the form, do not forget to add in the section "Other info":

  • A cover letter clearly stating the subject "COVID-19 - Medical Expenses".
  • Medical bills affected by the coronavirus
  • The statement from your health insurance that shows that these bills are not covered (e.g. because of the deductible).

In addition to all the documents requested directly in the form, do not forget to add in the section "Other info":

If you are unable to submit the application online due to lack of material, you can send all the documents to social(at)unige.ch

Contact by e-mail the social worker who handled your application for a grant or other financial assistance. Don't forget to provide her with a PDF of the new documents concerning your new application for emergency assistance.

Under no circumstances will grants be stopped until the end of the semester.

No. The current Guidelines stipulate that persons enrolled in continuing education are not eligible for the emergency aid that has been put in place.

Use a tool to reduce the size of your pdf, e.g. smallpdf, which is a free online tool.
Rather than one large document, you also have the option of submitting several additional documents in the "Other Info" ("Autres infos") section.

Note: the maximum size for a pdf file accepted by the form is 1MB.

You can scan pdf documents from your smartphone using an app such as Adobe Scan (available on Android and Apple).

The form only accepts pdf documents. If you have taken a photo of your documents, you can convert them to pdf via the print options (on Mac: "Print", then choose "Save as pdf". On Windows: "Print", then choose the printer "Microsoft Print to pdf"), or by using a tool like smallpdf, which is a free online service.

Note: the maximum size for a pdf file accepted by the form is 1MB. If your pdf is too large, please see the FAQ entry above.

You can scan pdf documents from your smartphone using an app such as Adobe Scan (available on Android and Apple).

The form only accepts pdf documents. If you have taken a photo of your documents, you can convert them to pdf via the print options (on Mac: "Print", then choose "Save as pdf". On Windows: "Print", then choose the printer "Microsoft Print to pdf"), or by using a tool like smallpdf, which is a free online service.

Note: the maximum size for a pdf file accepted by the form is 1MB. If your pdf is too large, please see the FAQ entry above.

Contact by e-mail the social worker who handled your grant application. Do not forget to provide her with the new documents concerning your new application for financial aid in pdf format.

Under no circumstances will the grants be stopped until the end of the semester.

Grants will not be stopped during this period, even in the event of job loss.

Choose "Aide ponctuelle du PSS". The social worker will then define with you which assistance(s) are appropriate for your situation.

In order to avoid email exchanges during this busy period and to enable us to respond to requests as quickly as possible, please ensure that you submit complete applications.

You can merge multiple pdf's using a tool like smallpdf, which is a free online service. Note that the maximum size for a pdf file is 1MB.

You can also submit your other documents in the "Other Info" ("Autres infos") section.

You can attach additional pay slips using the green "+" button.

Yes, you must provide your parents' last tax notice in all cases. You can add it in the "Other info" ("Autres infos") section.

In the expenses section at the top of the page, you will see what the maintenance rate includes (e.g. food, telephone, etc.). If you have other mandatory expenses that you must pay that are not listed here, you can include them. Not all expenses are necessarily included (e.g. vehicle expenses).

We are currently receiving many requests and are doing our best to respond as quickly as possible. All requests will be addressed.

UNIGE Students can view the status of their application on the Student Portal ("My Unige" tab). HES-SO Geneva Students can view the status of your application here.

Your application has been received if the status of your application is "Submitted". Find explanations on the detailed process for processing your application.

Contact us at social(at)unige.ch and send a screenshot of the error message that is displayed.

Contact us at social(at)unige.ch and send a screenshot of the error message that is displayed.

Problem, question?

If you have not found the answer in the FAQs above, you can contact us at social(at)unige.ch.