New arrivals in Sweden – for those who are a refugee or guardian for an unaccompanied minor
Sweden believes it is important for everyone to be able to study so as to make it easier to find work. Therefore, normally, it does not cost anything to study in Sweden. In addition, you may be entitled to CSN grants and loans to make it easier to live and study in Sweden.
CSN grants and loans
If you are a refugee and you want to study in Sweden, you may be entitled to CSN grants and loans for your studies. This is called student finance. Student finance enables people who are studying to pay their rent and buy food and other things they need while studying.
If you are a refugee, you may also be entitled to borrow money from CSN to buy furniture and other household items for your home. This is known as a home equipment loan.
If you do not have a Swedish driving licence, you may be entitled to borrow money from CSN so you can take lessons and acquire a driving licence. This is known as a driving licence loan.
Different types of student finance
There are different kinds of student finance depending on what you study and how old you are. Here are the most common types:
If you are studying at upper secondary school, you can get study allowance up to and including the spring term of the year you turn 20. Study allowance consists of different grants, for example, student grant and supplementary allowance. Supplementary allowance is a grant you can apply for if your family has a low income. If you are an unaccompanied minor, it is your own income that counts.
As of the autumn term of the year you turn 20, you can apply for a student grant and loan. If you are going to study at post-secondary level, for example at a university, you can apply for a student grant and loan even if you are younger than 20.
You can apply for both the grant and the loan, or if you prefer, only the grant part. If you have children, you can get an extra grant. This is called extra child allowance.
How the student loan must be paid back
You must pay back your student loan even if you move away from Sweden. You will not have to pay back the whole loan straight away; CSN will split up the payments over several years. How much you will pay and for how long will depend on how much you have borrowed and how high the interest rate is, among other things.
An education entry grant is for people who have been unemployed for a relatively long time and who need to do more studying at compulsory or upper secondary school level in order to get a job. This is a grant which can be paid out for maximum 50 weeks to a student who is studying fulltime.
It is the local authority in the municipality where you live that makes an initial assessment about whether you can apply for an education entry grant. You submit your application to your local authority. It is not possible to apply for an education entry grant direct from CSN.
A refugee’s right to Swedish student finance
You will normally be entitled to Swedish student finance if you belong to one of the following categories:
- If the Swedish Migration Agency has given you a residence permit because you are a refugee or in need of protection.
- If the Swedish Migration Agency has given you a residence permit on grounds of particularly distressing circumstances.
- If the Swedish Migration Agency has given you a residence permit based on the temporary law that limits the possibilities of being granted a residence permit in Sweden. One example of such a permit is the residence permit for upper secondary school studies under the upper secondary school act.
- If you have been given a placement in a foster family or in an HVB home by a Swedish authority, you will normally be entitled to Swedish student finance. In that case, you must
- be younger than 20 years
- have a valid residence permit
- be able to present the placement order issued by the authority.
Your residence permit must be valid
You must have a valid residence permit but it does not matter if it is permanent or temporary. Your right to student finance comes into force earliest as of the week you are given your permit.
If your residence permit is no longer valid, you may still be entitled to student finance if you applied for the extension of your residence permit before your temporary residence permit expired. Therefore, remember to apply to the Swedish Migration Agency in good time for an extension of your residence permit.
One of the following criteria must also be fulfilled. Your new application must:
- be based on the same reasons as before, or
- be for a new permit to study at upper secondary school in Sweden.
If any change is made to your residence permit, it is important you contact CSN as soon as possible. CSN will then check whether your student finance is affected and make sure the right amount is paid out. For example, the Swedish Migration Agency may reject your application for extension of your residence permit or they may withdraw your residence permit. In that case, you must contact us and notify us about the change.
If you are an asylum-seeker and have never had a residence permit in Sweden, you are not entitled to student finance.
Guardian for an unaccompanied minor
As a guardian for an unaccompanied minor, you can apply for a study allowance from CSN for the minor. In order to receive money, you need to register as a payee with us. The payee can also be someone such as a foster parent.
You report to CSN that you want to be the payee for the minor. You can register orally or in writing.
You can make written notification in connection with the grant application. The simplest way is to apply for it on the form in the application for a supplementary allowance or to send a letter or email to us.
Verify that you are the guardian
You also need to verify that you are the guardian, and you can do this by submitting a register extract or a certificate from “Överförmyndarnämnden” (the Chief Guardian Committee). If you have not already registered there, you need to arrange that first.
Can someone else receive payments?
Yes, you can designate someone else, such as a foster parent, to receive the money. In that case, you will need to submit a copy of the social welfare service’s decision to place the minor in a foster home. You do this in connection with the grant application. The application should also indicate which foster home parent should receive the money.
Applying for a study allowance
In order for CSN to ascertain whether an unaccompanied minor is entitled to Swedish student aid, each academic year you must send in the form “Ansökan om studiehjälp/Uppgifter för rätt till svenskt studiestöd” (Application for student aid/Information for entitlement to Swedish student aid).
Sign the forms
The guardian should sign the forms. Have you not registered as a payee with us?
In that case, you must do so and attach a register extract or a certificate from the Chief Guardian Committee verifying that you are the guardian.
Send the form by mail to us.
The school must send information
Before we can decide on the student grant, the school must send student information to CSN. As soon as the last four digits of the minor’s national identification number have been received, you can contact the school to check on whether the information has been sent to us.
Applying for a supplementary allowance
Unaccompanied minors often have the right for a supplementary allowance because they have low taxable income and also often are without parents in Sweden that can be included in the means test. You need to order a form to apply for this for the minor.
CSN sends the form to the minor’s national registration address in ample time before each academic year. If you would like to have a form sent to you, you can order it from CSN.
Before the minor is 18 years old, the money is paid to the person who is the designated payee. When the minor becomes 18 years old and reaches lawful age, we pay the money directly to him/her.
Swedbank manages CSN’s payments, so the bank must be informed of what bank account the money should be disbursed to. You report the account on Swedbank’s web page.
If the account number is missing
If the account number is missing, we disburse the money via a cash notification. It is sent to the payee.
The payee can redeem the cash notification at Swedbank or any Coupon Redemption agent. The notification indicates where it can be redeemed.
When a minor becomes age 18
When a minor becomes 18 years old and reaches the age of majority, we will disburse the money to her/him. Therefore, it’s wise to have set up a bank account for the minor before he or she reaches the age of 18. Remember to also notify Swedbank’s account register of the account number.
Payments are stopped in the event of invalid absence
If the minor plays truant, s/he is not entitled to grants from CSN. We then stop payments. If s/he already has received money to which s/he is not entitled, we will deduct the amount from upcoming payments. When the minor resumes studies, we start paying the grant again.
Driving licence loan
If you are unemployed, you can borrow money from CSN so you can take lessons and acquire a class B driving licence. It may be easier to find a job if you have a driving licence.
To qualify for this loan, you must be unemployed and aged between 18 and 47. However, this does not apply to all unemployed people; certain other conditions must also be fulfilled. The maximum amount you can borrow is 15,000 kronor. The loan must be paid back later, even if you have not acquired a driving licence.
Home equipment loan
If you are a refugee who has been registered as part of a municipal refugee reception programme, you can borrow money from CSN to buy furniture and other equipment for your home, for example, beds, plates, saucepans or chairs. You cannot use the money to buy food, toilet paper or to pay rent. This loan is called a home equipment loan.
The amount you can borrow will depend on the size of your family, what items your home already has, and how much money you yourself have.
You will have to pay back the home equipment loan after a period of time in Sweden. You must begin to pay back the loan two years after you received the first payment.