BM 67 – ESU supports the Swiss Grant Initiative
The European Students’ Union supports the Grant Initiative in Switzerland that has been initiated by its member VSS-UNES-USU and that will most likely be voted upon by the Swiss people next year.
Today, each Swiss canton (administrative district) has its own grant scheme for students with financial needs. These schemes are quite different in their rules about who can get a grant, which conditions they have to fulfill, and about the amount of the grant. This leads to the absurd situation that a student living on the border of their canton gets a grant, while their friend from the town on the other side of the border do not, although both families’ income is about the same. If a student receives a grant it is largely dependent on where he or she lives.
The Grant Initiative wants to change that. It wants to introduce a system where the same rules regarding access and amount of grants apply to all students, regardless of where they live. This simple measure would ensure fair access to grants and it will change the fact that every canton has its own assessment basis for who will receive a grant.
In this and the upcoming week, the Swiss parliament debates a counter-bill to the Grant Initiative that will only become a law if the Initiative is rejected by the people. The counter-bill wants to harmonize some rules on who can apply for grants, but it will not tackle the issue of different amounts of grants in different cantons. All this while it has already rejected the Grant Initiative.
ESU condemns that the Swiss parliament does not take sufficient action to ensure equal access to grants, although the issue has been raised by the Swiss Students’ Union and many of its allies for years now.
Therefore, ESU supports this initiative. It is an important step in ensuring access to higher education regardless of economic background.