BM 68 – 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 be voted upon by the Swiss people on the 14th of June 2015.
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 his canton gets a grant, while his friends from the town on the other side of the border do not, although their families’ income is about the same. If a student receives a grant 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 a fair access to grants and it will change the fact that every canton has its own assessment basis for who will receive a grant.
The counter-bill proposed by the Swiss parliament is not sufficient. The counter-bill will become a law if the Initiative gets rejected. Although it wants to harmonize some rules on who can apply for grants, 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 emphasises again that it supports this initiative. It is an important step in ensuring access to higher education regardless of economic background.