Since the Russian invasion began, around 23,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Switzerland. Their numbers could reach 50,000-60,000 in the next months, according to the Swiss Ministry of Justice.
After entering the country, Ukrainian refugees can apply for protection status S, which gives them access to accommodation, medical care, and the right to work. All citizens from Ukraine can apply together with their family members.
The Swiss international students’ community is continuously expanding, according to official data provided by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). There are now 40 universities in Switzerland, enrolling more than 12,000 international students in 2020 alone.
Below, you’ll find support initiatives and financial aid programmes for displaced Ukrainian students:
- Swiss higher education institutions oversee the evaluation of diplomas and certificates issued in other countries. To check if your previous studies are recognised, you need to contact the university or universities you’re interested in and send them a translated copy of your qualifications.
- The Study in Switzerland Plus website presents additional information about the Swiss higher education system.
- On Switzerland’s ENIC-NARIC page, you’ll find more details about national education bodies and qualification frameworks.
Scholarships and financial aid
Here are some examples of financial support programmes from Swiss universities:
- ETH Zurich – has waived all fees and tuition for Ukrainian refugees who meet the admission requirements. They also offer additional help through scholarships, funds, and loans.
- University of Fribourg – has waived study fees and allows Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD students from Ukraine to register as host students.
- University of Zurich – has waived study fees and allows Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD students from Ukraine to register as visiting students.
- Zurich University of Applied Sciences – has waived study fees and allows students from Ukraine to register as visiting students as long as they’re already in Switzerland and have received status protection S.
- EPFL – allows Ukrainian students to register as auditors or visitors. Auditors can study individual courses without paying any fees. Visiting students can start and finish a research project that takes less than 12 months without paying any fees.
- University of Bern – Ukrainians can enrol for 2 semesters as exchange students and continue their studies without paying tuition. Free translator services are also available.
- In collaboration with Scholars at Risks, The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) provides 9 million CHF to host Ukrainian researchers at Swiss universities. The foundation also offers funds for organisations that hire senior and postdoctoral scientists from Ukraine.
- If you qualify, don’t miss the opportunity to apply for regular scholarships and grants in Switzerland.
- The Swiss School of Higher Education (SSHE) is giving scholarships to Ukrainian students that were affected by the current political situation. These scholarships represent a 30% discount on all their tuition fees.
Study programmes and opportunities
- The University of Basel gives Ukrainian students who meet the criteria a guest status. This status allows them to study for 3 semesters, with the possibility of an extension, and speeds up the admission process. The university also offers financial aid through social services.
- Ukrainian students can find study programmes that cost under 1,000 EUR per academic year. Most are available at Master’s and PhD levels, but you can find a few Bachelors as well.
- Learn more about the costs of living and quality of life in Switzerland.
Other support resources
- Federal Asylum Centres offer a limited number of accommodation spaces for Ukrainian refugees. The Swiss Refugee Council coordinates other accommodation offers from host families and local institutions.
- Switzerland’s UNHCR page provides details about the conditions to enter the country. For example, Ukrainian citizens don’t need a biometric travel document.
- Additional information and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the official website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
- Swiss Pass (link in French) has confirmed that Ukrainian refugees can use public transport for free to reach a destination in Switzerland or travel across the country. This doesn’t include tourism or leisure travel. The free pass is initially available only until 31 May.
* We recommend using the automatic Google Translate function for pages with information in French.
** Please note we give our best to constantly update the information posted here, but we may not be able to track all specific changes that may occur.