Higher Education for Displaced Students

Europe is currently experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, as over a million people seek shelter from war-torn regions, and host countries in Europe, including Switzerland, struggle to find humanitarian solutions to the crisis.

Franklin University Switzerland wishes to show its solidarity with displaced students by offering scholarships to recognized refugees in Switzerland through its Scholarships Without Borders (SWB) program.

We do so in the conviction that education is a key factor in finding sustainable solutions to the refugee crisis. Education helps student refugees overcome trauma and rebuild lives through intellectual nurture and involvement in meaningful, future-building endeavors; it supports their efforts to integrate into their host country and to contribute to its economic growth; and it gives those who eventually return to their homes the skills, awareness, and knowledge to become change-makers and to rebuild their native countries.

Franklin University Switzerland’s Scholarships Without Borders (SWB) program is designed specifically to provide university-level education opportunities for refugees, offering select qualified students who have been granted refugee status in Switzerland the opportunity to embark on studies leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree at FUS.

Franklin funds this pioneering program through direct scholarships and in collaboration with cantonal bodies, foundations and private donors around the world. The humanitarian, non-profit organization SOS Ticino contributes to the program by identifying refugees based in Ticino who posses the requisite academic qualifications to enter university studies. Franklin also works with SOS Ticino to provide successful candidates with ongoing guidance and support throughout their studies at the university. SWB students are not only awarded full tuition scholarships by FUS; they are supported academically and personally through a network of professors, peer mentors, and professionals to ensure success in their university studies.

All students in the SWB program participate in an international summer school program on human rights, leadership skills, and the role of higher education in the process of integration and in the rebuilding of war-torn countries. The summer school is open to those interested in the topic from all over Europe and beyond.

The SWB program was founded in 2015 at FUS by its directors Prof. Johanna Fassl and Prof. Caroline Wiedmer.

The first SWB student was admitted in the spring semester of 2016.

The Scholarships Without Borders Program in the news (PDF report)


How it Works

Depending on their qualifications, student refugees may be admitted to a dedicated SWB bridge program or gain direct entry to Franklin’s Bachelor of Arts program.

SWB recipients are provided with a full scholarship and with financial and academic support from Franklin University Switzerland.

Learn more about the SWB Program and how to apply

Get Involved in SWB

There are many ways in which you can get involved in supporting the SWB initiative.

You can donate money, increasing the fund’s capacity to develop the program further in order to better support SWB students – or you can donate time, resources or knowledge, supporting further development of the program.

The program is also looking for student volunteers.

Find out how you can help

Please note that student refugees with a B permit residing in a Canton other than Ticino who wish to apply for a residency change or cantonal financial assistance must obtain prior permission from the Canton Ticino authorities before changing cantons. Those with an F permit living in a Canton other than Ticino must obtain permission for a cantonal change from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). In both cases these permissions must be in place before embarking on the program at FUS. More information.