Emergency Assistance for UZH Students

Are you facing an unexpected emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic? Do you not have enough money to get through the next few months? The emergency assistance scheme (“Pandemie-Nothilfe”) for UZH students affected by the coronavirus pandemic can help you bridge the financial gap until the end of the semester.

Who Can Request Emergency Assistance?

The emergency assistance scheme is aimed at students who are regularly matriculated at UZH and who have been put in financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 


Students can submit a request if they are unable to fall back on their family’s or any other kind of financial support, who have little to no savings, whose regular sources of income have been lost due to the pandemic, and who cannot (yet) benefit from assistance measures provided by the government.


You can find out which government support measures are currently available in this fact sheet (PDF, 79 KB)


Emergency assistance (hardship) is intended for UZH students who can no longer afford to pay their rent or medical bills, and who have no money to pay for basic necessities. The criteria for emergency assistance is assets of less than CHF 6,000 and total income of up to CHF 15,000 net in the spring semester (February to July).

Read some examples of students in emergency situations


Typical examples

Simone, 22, first-year law student: “I wanted to focus all my energy on getting through the assessment level, and my parents have always supported me financially. But now my father has lost his job and the business my mother works for has applied for short-time working. Neither of them can afford to continue supporting me. I can’t pay my rent and I’m scared I’ll be kicked out of my shared flat. To make matters worse, I have an urgent visit to the dentist coming up.”


Dario, 27, in the final year of his Master’s degree program in history: “I’ve always made a point of financing my studies on my own and avoiding debt. Until recently, I’ve been living on my savings. I work off and on during the semester, and full-time for six weeks in the semester break. My employer, a bar in the city center, has applied for short-time working. My income is more or less secure, but I’m struggling and I can no longer pay my bills.”


Marek, 23, eight semesters into his psychology studies: “My already confirmed internship was postponed for one year, and I had wanted to use the money I earned to finance an exchange semester in Amsterdam. I’ve already sublet my apartment. I have no idea where to go from here.”


Laureen, 20, art history student in her 4th semester: “I get financial aid from the canton, and earn 500 francs a month on top of that as a personal trainer. But now my employer has terminated employment from the end of April. My mate told me to immediately apply for unemployment benefits, but I haven’t heard back yet. I can’t find any other work. My grandmother secretly gave me 200 francs, but she lives on a small pension herself, so surely that can’t be it.” 


Students can apply for assistance of between CHF 1,000 and CHF 6,000. Emergency financial assistance is as follows:


Option 1

You need an amount of between CHF 1,000 and CHF 3,000. 

You do not have to pay back this amount. 


Option 2

You need an amount of between CHF 3,001 and CHF 6,000. 

You only have to pay back the amount that exceeds CHF 3,000. This loan part must be repaid, without interest, within two years of completing your studies or withdrawing from university.


There is no legal claim to emergency assistance (“Pandemie-Nothilfe”).


You can only submit one request. The deadline for submitting a request is 15 July 2020. Should you still be in financial hardship when the Fall Semester starts, you can apply for a regular grant and/or loan (link) by 15 August at the Student Financial Aid Office. Attention: this only applies if you meet the requirements.

How to Proceed

Determine how much money you will need until the end of the semester on 31 July. Fill in the form below and submit your request to the Student Financial Aid Office of UZH – please add the comment “Pandemie-Nothilfe” in the subject line and send the form to: studienfinanzierung@sib.uzh.ch.

We will do our best to process your request within ten working days, so that the money will be in your bank account as quickly as possible. You can help us process your request quickly by filling in the form as precisely and meaningfully as possible.

Request Form for Emergency Assistance

FAQs about Emergency Assistance

These FAQs are updated and expanded on an ongoing basis.


Can I request emergency assistance even if I already receive government benefits (grants, loans, unemployment benefits, etc.)?
Yes, if you are experiencing hardship.

My parents have supported me financially until now, but due to the pandemic they now have so little income that they can no longer afford to do so. They haven’t got any savings. Can I request emergency assistance?
Yes, if you are experiencing hardship. However, emergency assistance is not intended for parents or third parties.


I have a question about the request form or how I should proceed. Should I call the Student Financial Aid Office?
If you are not sure about something, think about it briefly, ask others for advice and, if in doubt, submit your request. For capacity reasons, we are unable to handle correspondence for the requests. If you have urgent questions, you can reach us over the phone on Thursdays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.


The questions in the request form don’t really apply to my situation. What should I do?Fill in the form as best you can and add information in handwriting, if required.

I’ve inherited/saved up some money for my next vacation/dentist’s bill, or my exchange semester abroad. I don’t want to use this money now. Can I request emergency assistance?
Now is the time to use this money. Are you still experiencing hardship? Before you apply for emergency assistance, you must have exhausted all possibilities for self-help.

My siblings are also experiencing hardship. Can they also request emergency assistance or can we do so all together or as a family?
If your siblings are matriculated at UZH, they can also submit a separate request. If other family members are experiencing hardship, you can check for possibilities of getting support from the government.

I’ve lost my job, but don’t have anything to prove it. What should I do?
Ask your employer to confirm the termination. You can also use bank statements that show you are no longer getting a salary as confirmation. We will not insist on receiving any specific type of confirmation. It is more important that the request and documents you submit are coherent and verifiable.

My request has been rejected. Where can Iodge an appeal?
There is no legal claim to emergency assistance (“Pandemie-Nothilfe”).