Published on: 21 March 2023
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Everything to Know About Financial Help for Foreign Students in France
You come from abroad to pursue your studies in France. How to get financial and social aid provided for this purpose?
Many students from abroad come to pursue their higher education in a French institution, just as French students choose to pursue their coursework abroad. Different financial aids are set up for foreign students to finance their studies in France but also to cover their housing, health, transportation and leisure expenses.
How to Finance Studies in France?
Foreign students can apply for scholarships to pursue higher education in French institutions. The public service and the Erasmus+ program provide specific arrangements for international students.
The CROUS, the regional centre of university and school works, distributes scholarships to foreign students enrolled in a full-time program in France. This scholarship is open, under certain conditions, to citizens of the European Union and Switzerland as well as holders of a residence permit and refugees recognized by Ofpra. To request it, one must create a DSE (Student Social File) on the student services website.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs grants scholarships to students from abroad. One quarter of them are financed by the Eiffel program (master or doctorate) or the Major program (for bachelors). The remaining three quarters are the responsibility of the French embassies in the student's country of origin.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Research offers scholarships to international students based on certain social criteria, including residence in the territory for more than two years. It is also possible to finance one's doctorate through this ministry.
Some research organizations offer financial assistance to foreign students following the relevant field:
- CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research),
- IRD (Institute for Research and Development),
- ADEME (Agency for Environment and Energy Management),
- IFREMER (French Institute for Marine Research).
Higher education establishments themselves can fund the studies of their foreign students through a scholarship program. An international relations office is available on campuses for obtaining the necessary information.
The territorial collectivities of France, namely the regions, departments and municipalities, grant scholarships to foreign students present on their territory. These are mostly doctoral and post-doctoral grants. Exchange agreements between French and foreign institutions may also provide for reception grants.
The Erasmus+ program specifically supports students from the European Union with a foreign title. It offers a mobility grant which can cover installation and stay expenses. Erasmus+ also provides a specific grant for students carrying out a Master's degree in several different countries.
The Campus bourses website provides foreign students with many options to fund their studies in France. These financial and social aids come from the French state as well as foreign states, universities, territorial collectivities, associations and companies. The website allows searches by nationality, level of study and field.
If the foreign student finds himself in a precarious situation, he can request emergency single aid or ask to benefit from RME (student minimum income) according to the city where he is located.
To which financial aids are foreign students eligible?
In addition to studies, housing represents an important cost, as do transportation, healthcare and leisure. Thankfully, there are aids available.
The CAF offers its beneficiaries, regardless of their nationality, a housing assistance in the form of an APL (Personalized Housing Assistance) or ALF (Family Housing Allocation) or ALS (Social Housing Allowance). It is necessary to register on the website www.caf.fr and then make a request for aid. Several information concerning the housing, family situation and income level will be requested.
The organization Action Logement also offers the Visale guarantee, which guarantees the rental housing of the student. It is a free service reserved for students aged over 18 and under 30 years old. The Loca-Pass advance, in turn, is a zero interest student loan that finances the security deposit, an amount to be given to the landlord who will return it at the end of the lease.
Foreign students in difficulty may also turn to FSL (Solidarity Fund for Housing), which provides loans or grants to people without resources to find housing.
On a local level, territorial authorities such as regions or cities also offer social and financial assistance for international students, including AILE (Installation Aid for Student Housing), offered by the city of Paris.
All students, regardless of their nationality, can take advantage of free consultations in the medical services of universities and psychological help offices. It is necessary to register with the Social Security System, a process which university medical services can help guide.
In France, no distinction is made on the nationality of students. French or foreign students benefit from the same advantages, particularly in terms of catering. The university restaurants of the CROUS offer meals at €3.30, which can be reduced to €1 for scholarship students, and in some cases those who are in a precarious situation.
Mobility and Leisure Assistance
The student card that all students benefit from regardless of their nationality allows them to benefit from reduced rates in public transport (bus, metro, tram, etc.) and bike-sharing services. Just go to the mobility centers of the host city. The student status also allows you to get discounts in media libraries and gyms. Do not hesitate to show your student card in any situation. It even works sometimes at the corner bakery.
International Students: How to Get Financial Aid for Studying in France?
To find out more about the social and financial aid that a foreign student can get in France, it is useful to contact, before going to France, the Service for Cooperation and Cultural Action of the French Embassy or Consulate General.