New arrivals in Sweden – for those who are a refugee or guardian for an unaccompanied minor
In Sweden we want everybody to have the opportunity to study to make it easier to get a job. Therefore, it usually costs nothing to be a student. You can also have the right to receive grants and borrow money to make it easier to live and study in Sweden.
Grants and loans from CSN
If you are a refugee and want to study in Sweden, you may be entitled to receive a grant and borrow money for your studies. This is called student finance. Student finance is available so that those who study will have the money to pay for rent and food and buy other things needed during the programme length.
If you are a refugee, you may also be entitled to borrow money to buy furniture and other equipment for your home. This is called a home equipment loan.
CSN is the public authority that manages student aid and home equipment loans.
Different types of student aid
There are various types of student aid, depending on what you’re studying and how old you are. Here are the most common ones:
If you are attending upper-secondary school, you can receive a study allowance until the spring semester of the year you become 20 years old. The study allowance consists of various grants, including student grants and supplementary allowances. A supplementary allowance is a grant that you can apply for if you and your family have a low income. If you’re an unaccompanied minor and have no legal guardian in Sweden, it is your own income that is counted.
Beginning with the autumn semester of the year you become 20 years old, you can apply for student grants and loans. If you are going to enroll in post-secondary education, such as a university, you also can apply for student grants and loans if you are younger than age 20.
You can choose to take only the study grant if you want. If you have children, you can get extra grants. This is called a “tilläggsbidrag” (extra child allowance).
How you go about repaying a student loan
You must pay back a student loan. You don’t have to pay back the entire loan at once; CSN will divide the payment over a period of several years. How much you will pay and for how long depends on how much you have borrowed and what the interest rate is. You need to pay back the loan even if you should move from Sweden.
If you should find it difficult to repay the loan, it’s important that you contact us. This can happen if you become unemployed, for example. In that case, you may be entitled to pay a little less for a period of time.
The education entry grant is for those who have been unemployed for a significant time and who need to enroll in a compulsory school or upper-secondary education to get a job.
It is a grant that you can receive for a maximum of 50 weeks if you are studying full-time.
Your municipality determines whether you can apply for an education entry grant. That is also where you make your application. It is not possible to apply for an education entry grant directly from CSN.
Entitlement to Swedish student aid as a refugee
You usually are entitled to Swedish student finance in the following cases:
- If the Swedish Migration Agency has granted you a residence permit because you’re a refugee or a person in need of protection.
- If the Swedish Migration Agency has granted you a residence permit because of particularly distressing circumstances.
Your residence permit must be valid, but it does not matter whether it is permanent or temporary. Entitlement to student finance usually applies starting with the week you get your permit.
If you’re an asylum seeker and have never had a residence permit in Sweden, you are not entitled to student finace.
Other residence permits
You may be entitled to Swedish student finance if the Swedish Migration Agency has granted you a residence permit under the law on temporary restrictions of the possibility to obtain a residence permit in Sweden. A residence permit for upper-secondary education studies is an example of such a circumstance.
If you live in a foster home or a residential care home for children and young people
If you are placed in a foster home or in an institution by a Swedish public authority, you are usually entitled to Swedish student finance. You should then
- be under 20 years of age
- have a valid residence permit
- have a decision from a public authority that shows that you have been placed in a foster family or in an institution.
If your permit is no longer valid, you can still be eligible for student finance. This is the case if you have applied for an extension of your residence permit before your temporary residence permit has expired. Therefore, remember to apply for an extension of your residence permit at the Swedish Migration Agency in plenty of time!
It is also required that the new application
- has the same basis as the previous one, or
- it applies to a new permit to study at an upper-secondary school in Sweden.
If there is some change in the residence permit, it’s important that you contact CSN as soon as possible. In that case, we can check to see if it affects your student finance and ensure that you are paid the right amount. For example, there is a possibility that the Swedish Migration Agency may reject your application for an extension of your residence permit or revoke your residence permit. If that happens, you should contact us and report the change.
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.
Loan for buying things for the home
Those who are covered by the municipality reception of refugees programme are allowed to borrow money from CSN to purchase furniture and other equipment for their new homes. This can include beds, dishes, pans and chairs. But not items such as food, toilet paper or rent for a residence.
How much you can borrow depends on how large your family is, what already exists in the residence and how much money you already have.
You need to pay back the home equipment loan after some time in Sweden. You start paying back the loan 2 years after first receiving the money.