BERN - The Union of Students in Switzerland (VSS-UNES-USU) - member of the European Students' Union (ESU) - deposited the citizens’ Initiative for Scholarships with 140’000 signatures at the Federal Chancellery, on 20 January. The aim is to set a cornerstone for equal opportunities in the scholarship system by harmonize the 26 different systems.
VSS-UNES-USU intends that individuals get the possibility to access and to succeed in a tertiary education independent from their financial means. The national level should also bear more responsibility. The initiative claims a transfer of competencies towards national level: the legislation of allocation and funding scholarships should in future be decided by the federal parliament.
The facts show that this step is necessary: “The probability to succeed in academic studies is nowadays still dependent from social origin”, states Romina Loliva, member of the executive committee of VSS-UNES-USU. If the familial support is missing there is a risk to take a decision against tertiary education caused by financial reasons. That?s why VSS-UNES-USU wants to create a unified scholarship system that guarantees equal access to tertiary education, independent from the socio-economic situation of a person.
The citizens? initiative was launched in July 2012 and has motivated almost 140„000 individuals to sign it. The first calculation shows that at least 115?000 signatures are valid. Though the collection of the signatures was not easy VSS-UNES-USU had the necessary number in fall 2011. VSS-UNES-USU and its members are proud of this first success.
Since more than 40 years the aim for a harmonized and splendidly constructed scholarship system is together with the participation of students? priority objective of VSS-UNES-USU. The citizens? Initiative for Scholarships is already the third attempt to have a popular vote concerning the harmonization of scholarship systems. Anja Schuler, member of the executive committee of VSS-UNES-USU, said: “The deposit of the citizens? Initiative for Scholarships is for today students a big achievement and revolutionary for tomorrow?s generation.”
VSS-UNES-USU launched its aim for a fair and harmonized scholarship system with the citizens„ initiative. Now it?s up to the concerned institutions and political intention to contribute their part for real equal opportunities in tertiary education.