FAQ – EPFL social scholarhips

How to apply for an EPFL social scholarship

How do I apply for a social grant?

All the information is available on our website. All the documentation required for your application is listed on our form.

If you have any questions about your administrative and financial situation in the broadest sense, feel free to contact our social team for advice and guidance.

I am a Swiss citizen or have a C permit: should I apply for the cantonal scholarship at the same time as the EPFL social scholarship?

Yes, because EPFL social scholarships are only a last resort, once all other possibilities (parental contribution, state grants, loans and loan proposals, etc.) have been rejected. The EPFL will request partial or total reimbursement of the EPFL social scholarship if you are awarded a cantonal/state/other grant.

It is therefore essential to submit your cantonal scholarship application before you apply for an EPFL social scholarship, and to send us an acknowledgement of receipt. However, you can still send us your application even if you have not yet received a reply from the relevant office.

Can I apply for an EPFL social scholarship if I haven’t yet received a reply from the cantonal/state grant?

Yes, the EPFL social scholarship can be used as an advance on the cantonal or state grant, provided you have applied to the canton at the same time. We will ask you to send us an acknowledgement of receipt of your current application.

What happens if I am awarded two scholarships?

If you receive a cantonal/state/other scholarship after you have been awarded an EPFL social scholarship, we will ask you to reimburse all or part of it. There will be no double financing of your studies.

The cantonal scholarship and apprenticeship office has offered me a loan instead of a scholarship. Will this loan be considered when calculating the social grant?

Yes, the loan will be considered even if you don’t accept it. We consider that a loan granted by a cantonal grant office is an integral part of the financing plan for your studies. EPFL social scholarships are a last resort, once all other possibilities (parental contribution, state grants, loans and loan proposals, etc.) have been rejected. The EPFL will request a partial or total reimbursement of the amount of the EPFL social scholarship if a loan is obtained.

I’m over 25. Do I have to provide information about my parents’ financial situation?

Reaching the age of 25 is not enough to be recognized as financially independent, even if you assume full responsibility for your accommodation and maintenance, and no longer receive alimony or maintenance payments.

Until you become financially independent in accordance with the law on scholarships, your parents’ income will be considered in the calculation, regardless of your age.

In accordance with articles 276 and 277b para. 2 of the Swiss Civil Code, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that your parents’ obligation to support you does not end at the age of 25, but at the end of your studies. We therefore ask you to send us all the required documents, unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the impossibility of doing so.

I haven’t found a place to live yet. How do I fill in the rent section of the form?

If you haven’t found accommodation yet, you can indicate an approximate amount in the “Monthly expenses” section and specify your situation in the “Additional information to clarify your budget” section. Please note that if you are awarded an EPFL social scholarship and do not have a lease, the calculation will be made without considering rent.

As soon as you have found accommodation, please send us a copy of the signed contract with your name on it. From the month in which we receive your lease, the amount of the EPFL social scholarship may be adjusted accordingly.

Criteria for change

Is the retirement of one or both parents considered as an unexpected and sudden change in my financial situation?

The retirement of one or both parents is not considered to be an unexpected and sudden change in your financial situation, even if it affects the financial resources of the people in charge to support you. In fact, the consequences of retirement at legal retirement age can be planned and anticipated, and the budget adjusted accordingly.

However, if retirement is due to reasons beyond the employee’s control, or if it is imposed, this may be considered when calculating any entitlement to an EPFL social scholarship.

Documents attesting the situation will be required.

One of my siblings is starting higher education. Is this considered an unexpected and sudden change in my financial situation?

No, the fact that a brother or sister is starting higher education is not considered an unexpected and sudden change in your financial situation, even if it affects the financial resources available to those who are in charge to support you. This must be anticipated in advance and the budget adjusted accordingly.

Stay out of EPFL, abroad, exchange, internship, master project

I am an EPFL social scholarship holder and would like to do a semester at ETHZ. Will I be eligible for an EPFL social scholarship during my stay at ETHZ?

Yes, if you remain enrolled at EPFL while pursuing a Master’s degree at ETHZ, you can apply for an extension of your EPFL social scholarship, provided you continue to meet the criteria for the EPFL social scholarship.

However, if you are no longer enrolled at EPFL, financial support will no longer be possible. Please contact ETHZ for further information on financial support.

I want to do an exchange, internship or master project abroad: can I receive an EPFL social scholarship during my stay?

The costs incurred solely by your stay abroad will not be considered as an unexpected and sudden change and will not entitle you to an EPFL social scholarship. This is a personal choice aimed at improving your career prospects. For this reason, these additional costs must be included in the financing plan for your studies.

However, if you are already granted an EPFL social scholarship, or meet the eligibility criteria and remain enrolled at EPFL, the calculation will be established as if you were doing an unpaid master project or internship at EPFL. This means that the costs associated with your choice of stay abroad will not be considered in our calculation.

In all cases, if you have an income, the amount of your salary will be considered when calculating the EPFL social scholarship.

Find information about scholarships for studies abroad here.

I am at the end of my Master’s degree and need to do an unpaid EPFL master project? Am I entitled to an EPFL social scholarship?

If the criteria for change are met, an unpaid master’s project at EPFL may, under certain conditions, make you eligible for an EPFL social scholarship.

Income or change in income

Are student jobs and EPFL social scholarships compatible?

It’s perfectly possible, and even encouraged, to receive an EPFL social scholarship and supplement your income with a part-time job.

I am receiving an EPFL social scholarship, and my situation has changed during the year (starting a paid internship, receiving new financial aid, inheritance, ex-matriculation, major change in income, etc.). Do I need to inform Student Affairs?

Yes, you are obliged to inform us of any change in your social, family or financial situation, or in that of the persons in charge to provide support, if it is likely to affect the scholarship granted to you.

Scholarship duration, amount and payment

How long does the EPFL social scholarship last?

EPFL social scholarships are paid for one or two semesters, i.e. for a maximum of 5 or 10 months per year of study. They may be renewed each year, by presenting a full application with all supporting documents, if the financial situation of the student and of the persons in charge has not changed.

What is the amount of the EPFL social scholarship ?

The amount is determined based on the social, family and financial situation of the student and the persons in charge to support you. The maximum monthly scholarship is up to 2’100 CHF.

When is the payment of the EPFL social scholarship made?

Please consult our website to find out the approximate date of the payment of your EPFL social scholarship, depending on the deadline for which you have applied.

Communication and data protection

Who will have access to my application data?

By signing the application form, you agree that your documents relating to the application for an EPFL social scholarship may be disclosed to the relevant internal departments insofar as this is necessary to reach a decision.

You also agree that the EPFL may carry out any checks necessary to justify the granting of the EPFL social scholarship, which may include communicating some of your personal data to the persons, entities or authorities concerned (in particular the cantonal scholarship offices).

Who makes decisions about EPFL social scholarships ?

Decisions to award EPFL social scholarships are taken by the Social Commission, made up of several EPFL staff and teaching staff, as well as a representative of the student body.

The Commission meets 5 or 6 times a year.