FAQ

How do I apply for financial aid from the Graduate Institute?

When do I apply for a scholarship if I am an incoming student or a current student?

What is emergency aid and who is eligible for this type of aid?

What is the process to renew my scholarship and what are my chances to receive a scholarship with the same conditions as the previous - year?

How is my scholarship going to be disbursed? When will it come into effect and what if I don’t have a bank account?

If I haven’t applied for financial aid in the past or if my scholarship application was refused, can I apply for the incoming academic year?

What happens if I fail my studies or need to temporarily suspend my studies?

Once I receive a scholarship package, are there any requirements that I need to meet in order to remain eligible for aid? 

What if I go on an exchange programme or if I have an internship abroad? How will my scholarship package be affected?

Are there donors that I could contact to get a scholarship?

How can I obtain proof of funding for visa purposes?

What kind of proof is requested as a proof of income? What does “gross wealth” mean?

I am an independent student and my parents are not helping me financially. What proof of income should I submit?

I have been offered a scholarship package but will not be able to enroll at the Institute this year. Will I need to re-apply for a scholarship if I apply again the following year?

I am enrolled to the LL.M programme or the MIDS. What kind of financial aid is available for me?

What happens if I miss the application deadline?

How can I be sure that my application has been received and treated?

How long does it take to receive a response regarding financial aid?

Can I apply for a scholarship and try to obtain another scholarship externally?

What can my scholarship stipend be used for? 

If I am unsuccessful in obtaining a scholarship, are there any other options for me?

What if I don’t have the means to pay my tuition fees on time?

How many times can my scholarship package be renewed?

How do I apply for financial aid from the Graduate Institute?

  • If you are a new student applying for financial aid, you should do so when completing your application for admission. 
    Note that the admission evaluation process is “need blind”: the academic evaluation committees do not know which applicant requested financial aid and have no access to this or any related financial information in the file. Financial aid applications are evaluated only after all the admission decisions have been made and can no longer be altered.
  • If you are a current student, you may apply for financial aid or apply to renew your existing financial aid awarded in the previous year. 
     
    • Please refer to this page for more information on renewals and new applications for current students.
    • Please make sure that you have read and understood the Directive found on that same page. Come back to us if anything remains unclear.
    • Please submit your request between 1st April and 30 May. Late applications are not considered.

      If you are a first year Master student, you may apply for the first time now, for a second year financial aid award. However, be aware that new awards to continuing students are generally approved only in exceptional circumstances, in view of remaining institutional funds; most awards to continuing students are renewals. 

      If you are a PhD student, you may apply for any subsequent year, unless you are under prolongation; in this case, you are not eligible for financial aid.
       
  • Financial aid may take the form of a tuition fee reduction, and/or a full or partial scholarship. Scholarships provide a monthly stipend during the academic year.

When do I apply for a scholarship if I am an incoming student or a current student?

  • Prospective/incoming students: apply for financial aid during your application for admission, in the Early Bird (15 November) or regular round (15 January). The Admission Office will notify you about the outcome of both applications. 

    It is not possible to apply for financial aid during the late application round (1st March).

    Note that the evaluation process of your application for admission is “need-blind”:  the academic evaluation committees do not know which applicant requested financial aid and have no access to this or any related financial information in the file. Financial aid applications are evaluated only after all the admission decisions have been made and can no longer be altered.
     
  • All students who decide to attend the Institute need to confirm their admission by paying a pre-registration fee of CHF 1,000, deducted from your first tuition invoice. This guarantees your place in the programme and your financial aid package, if awarded. Please note that all students, even those awarded a maximum tuition reduction, are expected to pay the CHF 1,000 pre-registration fee. It will contribute towards financing scholarships for others, in a spirit of solidarity and unity.
     
  • If you are a current student, apply for financial aid between 1st April and 30 May. This applies to both renewals and new applications

What is emergency aid and who is eligible for this type of aid?

Emergency aid is available to all currently enrolled students who have encountered an unexpected hardship and need punctual financial help. First year students are considered only in exceptional circumstances. More information on this page.

If I have already received a full or partial scholarship, do I need to re-apply?

Yes, all students who have received financial aid and who wish to renew it for the following year should submit their renewal request between 1st April and 30 May. It is in your interest to complete your file as quickly as possible. Our funds are limited and preference may be given to applicants who apply early. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

What is the process to renew my scholarship and what are my chances to receive a scholarship with the same conditions as the previous year?

  • Master students: the probability is very high, as long as your financial situation remains comparable and your academic progress is satisfactory.
     
  • PhD students: you can expect to receive at least the same amount during the subsequent years, unless your financial needs change.
    We expect you to explore other possible sources of funding:
    • Apply for a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant position at the Institute
    • Apply for an Excellence Scholarship for foreign scholars (if you are entering your second year)
    • Apply for research funding, per consultation with the Research Office

How is my scholarship going to be disbursed? When will it come into effect and what if I don’t have a bank account?

The scholarship is generally allocated for a period of 10 months, from September to June. 
If necessary, you may contact our accounting services at the start of the academic year to arrange disbursement over 12 months (from September to August). The amount will be adjusted accordingly.

If you do not have a Swiss bank account when you arrive, the first disbursement can be made in cash. Subsequent disbursements will be transferred directly to your local bank account.
You will find information on opening a bank account on this link. You may also consider opening a postal account.

Be aware that when reassessing a student’s financial aid award in view of additional income, the calculation is made on the basis of CHF 2,000/month (full scholarship) or CHF 1,000/month (partial scholarship) over 10 months, regardless of your actual disbursement plan, which might be spread over 12 months.

How does my academic performance influence the decision regarding the attribution of a scholarship package? Will my past academic record have any influence on my financial aid application for the first year?

Demonstrated financial need is the first criterion in the financial aid evaluation process. Once your financial need has been confirmed, your past academic performance is the second evaluation criterion. 
Current master students applying for renewal must be regularly enrolled at the Institute and making satisfactory academic progress, in accordance with the academic policies and regulations

If I haven’t applied for financial aid in the past or if my scholarship application was refused, can I apply for the incoming academic year?

Yes. Your financial situation will be evaluated, as well as your academic performance. However, be aware that new awards to continuing students are generally approved only in exceptional circumstances, in view of remaining institutional funds; most awards to continuing students are renewals.

What happens if I fail my studies or need to temporarily suspend my studies?

If you interrupt your studies, your financial aid will cease, with immediate effect. 

If you obtain an approved leave of absence, you may re-apply for a financial aid renewal for the following academic year upon your return. The Financial Aid Committee will assess your complete renewal application. Renewals are not automatic.
If your leave of absence is for the autumn semester only, your financial aid will be re-activated for the spring semester. 

Once I receive a scholarship package, are there any requirements that I need to meet in order to remain eligible for aid? 

Yes, a financial aid package can be cancelled or suspended if you no longer fulfil the conditions on which it had been awarded. Students who have not satisfied their curriculum requirements in the first semester, who have breached the Academic Regulations or violated the Code of Conduct, may have their financial aid removed in the second semester. 
You are also required to notify the Scholarships Office of any change in your personal or financial situation. 
The decision to cancel or suspend financial aid is made by the Direction of Studies, after consultation with the Financial Aid Committee. 

What happens if I get a job at the Institute or elsewhere? 

All beneficiaries of financial aid awarded by the Institute who wish to take a remunerated job or internship, either at the Institute or elsewhere; or who accept any other form of financial aid from an external source during the academic year, are required to inform the Scholarship Office immediately. Your situation will then be re-assessed and the financial aid award might be reduced as a consequence. 
Accumulating revenue from different sources is allowed only if the combined total of both the Institute’s financial aid and the additional income does not exceed CHF 30,000, as specified in the directive on financial aid. Otherwise, financial aid from the Institute will be decreased accordingly. 

Be aware that when reassessing a student’s financial aid award in view of additional income, the calculation is made on the basis of CHF 2,000/month (full scholarship) or CHF 1,000/month (partial scholarship) over 10 months, regardless of your actual disbursement plan, which might spread over 12 months. If applicable, the tuition fee reduction will also be adjusted.

Any modifications in your financial situation arising between submitting your application and the end of the financial aid period must be notified immediately to the Scholarships Office.

What if I go on an exchange programme or if I have an internship abroad? How will my scholarship package be affected?

Consult the Academic Regulations and your Academic Advisor to ensure that an overseas internship is compatible with your enrolment and curriculum requirements.

If you go overseas for an exchange semester or for an approved unpaid internship, all conditions for your financial aid package remain identical. 

If your internship is paid, you must inform the Scholarships Office and your award may be adjusted

Current students approved to participate in an exchange programme can apply earlier and will receive a decision by mid-May. The financial aid information is often required for visa purposes. 

Are there donors that I could contact to get a scholarship?

Our donors do not wish to have direct contact with financial aid applicants. Doing so would jeopardize your chances of obtaining a sponsored scholarship. 
If the Institute accepts your financial aid application and you are awarded a scholarship, the Financial Aid Committee will verify if you meet the criteria for a one of our sponsored scholarships. It will then inform you, as well as the donor.

How can I obtain proof of funding for visa purposes?

You may use your financial aid letter, which clearly indicates the award amounts. You may also use the attestation that you received from either the financial aid office or the donor. The attestation is usually sent by e-mail and should suffice for visa purposes; however, a hard copy is available upon request.

What kind of proof is requested as a proof of income? What does “gross wealth” mean?

We normally require the income declaration for the latest fiscal year for you, your spouse (if applicable) and/or your parents. However, if this document is not available in your country or due to some exceptional circumstances, you may also provide us with proof of your and your parents’/spouse’s income in other forms: for example, an employment contract indicating salary; recent salary slips; bank statements indicating available funds; savings; annuities; investments; family contributions; pensions; alimony, maintenance and child support; invalidity insurance; widower pension; etc.

If a fiscal/income tax declaration is unavailable, please send us a letter explaining the reasons or exceptional circumstances.

If you obtain any other type of grant and/or loan, please provide us with this documentation. 

“Gross wealth” includes all the assets that you and your family own: for example, material goods and real estate/land; liquidity in the form of bonds; and interests. These assets can generate a regular income or have the potential to generate future income. 

I am an independent student and my parents are not helping me financially. What proof of income should I submit?

Under Swiss law, parents are required to provide financial support for their children enrolled in full-time education, until the age of 25. Therefore, if you are under 25, you will be considered financially dependent on your parents. You need to document your parents’ income, even if these rules do not apply in your country. 

If you are 25 or over, you may be considered as an independent student, if you can confirm that your parents do not contribute financially to your education and other expenses. Please note that you may be asked to provide evidence to this effect. 

Even if you are over the age of 25 years old, we strongly recommend that you provide us with your parents’ financial documents, as this will give us a clear overview of your family’s financial situation.

Incomplete financial aid applications are not evaluated by the Financial Aid Committee and generate an automatic refusal decision.

I have been offered a scholarship package but will not be able to enroll at the Institute this year. Will I need to re-apply for a scholarship if I apply again the following year?

Yes. Your financial aid application is valid only for the academic year for which you have been admitted. 

What happens if I would need to re-enter my details in my application form? 

During the application process, you can update your details before you validate and submit your online application form. Afterwards, updates must be sent to the Admission and the Scholarships office.  

I am enrolled to the LL.M programme or the MIDS. What kind of financial aid is available for me?

Please visit your LLM programme’s website for this information. Note that the financial aid office at the Graduate Institute does not evaluate requests from LLM students. This includes the LLM in International Law, the Geneva Academy and the MIDS.

  • For the LLM, you will find information here.
  • For the MIDS, you will find information here.
  • For the Geneva Academy, you will find information here.

What happens if I miss the application deadline?

You will not be considered for financial aid for the coming year. You will be able to apply for financial aid in the following year. Make sure that you do not miss the application deadline of 30 May. 

How can I be sure that my application has been received and treated?

New applicants can track their status via the online follow up module linked to their application. Current students can also check the status of their financial aid application on the follow up (available only in April-May). 

How long does it take to receive a response regarding financial aid?

New students receive their financial aid decision along with their admission letter. Current students receive an e-mail response at the end of June. 

Can I apply for a scholarship and try to obtain another scholarship externally?

Yes, and we strongly encourage you to do so. 
Please remember to inform us accordingly, as your external funding must be documented. Failure to do so may result in our financial aid award being revoked.

I am a US citizen or eligible national, can I apply for US Direct Loans as well as financial aid from the Institute simultaneously?

Yes. If you receive a full scholarship and a tuition fee reduction, your financial aid award will total CHF 27,000. Therefore, you may still apply for Direct Loans. The total of your financial aid package and the loan should not exceed approximately CHF 32,000, which is the maximal Cost of Attendance as defined by the US Loans Office. Accordingly, you would be eligible for a maximum of CHF 5,000 in Direct Loans.

What can my scholarship stipend be used for? 

Your scholarship stipend should cover your current living expenses during your studies. Click here for an estimation of living costs. This will give you an idea of what to expect and how to plan your budget. Please note that this is only an estimate and it is valid for a student with no dependents.

If I am unsuccessful in obtaining a scholarship, are there any other options for me?

Yes, you should explore other options of funding which may be available in your country. You may also contact private donors and foundations that welcome direct student contact (not the Graduate Institute’s donors). 
If you are Swiss citizen, please consult this page.

What if I don’t have the means to pay my tuition fees on time?

Please send an e-mail asking for a deadline extension or instalments. Include your reasons, desired payment schedule and how you plan to cover your tuition and living costs.

How many times can my scholarship package be renewed?

As long as you are successfully completing your studies, you may apply as many times as necessary. MA students can apply for their second year of study and PhD students may apply for subsequent years, although they are encouraged to seek alternative funding. Furthermore, PhD students who are in prolongation (over 8 semesters) are no longer eligible to apply for financial aid at the Institute (except special aid for a possible tuition fee reduction).

Who can I get in touch with if I didn’t find an answer to my questions regarding financial aid?

Please contact the Scholarships office for any questions regarding your financial aid package or any other type of financial aid available at the Institute (including our donors). Contact the Admission Office regarding your application.