THE CSN CASE

THE CENTRAL STUDENT SUPPORT COMMISSION (CSN) has in several cases denied study funding for international studies for theological and other studies with a Christian connection in, among others, the United States. The background is the new provisions of the Study Support Regulation, which entered into force on May 1, 2018, which increases the authority’s ability to deny study funding in certain situations. The preparatory work of the new regulations clarifies that study funding is not intended for education abroad that is incompatible with Swedish regulations, such as provisions on human rights and freedoms in Chapter 1. Section 2 of the Government Form and the principle of non-discrimination. The new rules were added, inter alia, following extensive criticism that Swedish study funding funded 71 Swedish students at the ultra-conservative Medina University in Saudi Arabia.

CSN FOUND THAT the current studies at Christian colleges and universities had no shortcomings in content, but that the admission process was such that they were open only to persons with Christian conviction and the applications for funding were thus denied. Human rights lawyers appealed against the decision as legal counsels of one of the applicants, stating that the Swedish Discrimination Act is unique in a global context. Almost all top universities in the United States use quotas and provide, for example, benefits to people of certain ethnicity. Even this type of selection method where, for example, race, gender and other demographic background affects the ability to be admitted to a university is discriminatory compared with Swedish conditions. If discrimination in the admissions process alone could be used as a basis for denying study support for foreign studies, a large group of students around the world would be covered, thus eliminating their student support. In view of the fact that it has been made clear that the amendment of the law would concern only a very small group, the current application could not be intended.

THE BOARD OF Appeal for student support decided to overturn CSN’s decision and granted student support to Human rights lawyer’s client.