Published on: 12 November 2021
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Student financial aid: organizations and procedures
Numerous financial aids are available to students so that they continue their studies in the best conditions. There are school grants, housing or mobility aid. It remains to be seen where to turn.
Student financial aid: organizations and procedures
The French state offers students and young people under the age of 26 a large number of financial aids. These concern accommodation, various daily expenses, but also mobility and… merit. This state aid is distributed according to criteria by organizations such as CROUS or CAF. Do not hesitate to ask !
Social Criteria Grants (BCS) and mobility aids
The CROUS (Regional Center for University and School Works) offers all students in France a student grant to cover all or part of the tuition fees and the inevitable daily expenses. You must apply for the scholarship by creating or updating your Student Social File (DSE) every year. This request must be made on the "Mes services étudiants" website between the months of January and May preceding the next start of the school year.
You can start filling out your DSE even if you do not yet have all the information, especially if you do not yet know the institution you will be joining. What you have entered is kept and you can add elements or modify them as your projects progress. The DSE will also allow you to apply for university accommodation.
Depending on the items you have completed (in particular your income and that of your parents), the amount of CROUS grants, now called BCS, grants based on social criteria, varies between € 1,000 and € 5,000 per year. This amount is paid to you over ten months, from September to June.
What about mobility aids?
Mobility aid is a device set up for students enrolled in a higher education institution and who have been forced to change region (or more precisely academy) to follow their student project. If you are in this case, you must already be a scholarship student to benefit from the mobility aid.
There are also many mobility aids for students pursuing their studies abroad. The Erasmus + program in particular allows students (as well as teachers) to access a university establishment in another country of the European Union. If you spend more than three months outside France, you receive a monthly grant that varies between 150 and 450 € depending on the standard of living in the host country. Erasmus + also offers assistance to students with disabilities. If you are studying in the UK, things can change with Brexit. Do not hesitate to take regular information on the Brexit page of gouv.fr, the French government site.
Your region of origin may also offer you specific assistance if you are going to study abroad. Check with your regional council before you go. Different systems are in place depending on the region. There is bound to be one that will meet your needs.
How to get it on merit?
If you receive the Social Criteria Scholarship (BCS), you are also eligible for merit aid. But you have to… earn it. To be considered as deserving, you must obtain a “very good” grade during the baccalaureate.
No need to try to request it. This merit-based aid is assigned to you automatically, once you have obtained a "Very good" grade in the bac and your case has been validated by the rector of the academy. The amount of aid is decided by the government: it was 900 € for the 2020/2021 academic year. The sum is distributed over nine months in addition to the monthly payment of your scholarship.
A maximum of three merit aids may be awarded to you during your school career, whatever your orientation. Suffice to say that if you have repeated a year, or that you have been absent from a large number of lessons, you can put an end to it (unless this lack of attendance or the repetition is due to extra-curricular reasons, for example for health reasons).
There are also merit aid distributed by the Regional Council, but the sum as well as the merit criteria no longer depend on the State, but on each region.
What housing assistance does CAF offer?
The Family Allowance Fund (CAF) allows you to obtain, according to certain criteria, a personalized housing allowance (APL). Students can apply if they occupy a student residence or rental accommodation. We even speak in their case of APL Student, but if in fact, it is not very different from the general APL.
The APL application is made on the CAF website where you enter your income and information about your accommodation. You will be asked to attach a rental contract and your proof of income. If you are not yet a beneficiary, your registration with CAF will be done at the same time as the application.
What should I know about the APL?
To benefit from the APL, you must first ensure that the accommodation you rent is approved, that is to say that the owner or the lessor has declared it to the State as being eligible for the PL.
Note that you can benefit from the APL if you are sharing or subletting. On the other hand, you cannot claim it if you stay with a member of your family (and even if this one makes you pay for the rental). You remain eligible for the APL when you receive student grants through the CROUS. The two are not mutually exclusive.
To find out how much APL you can claim, the CAF site offers you to do a simulation.
What other housing assistance does CAF offer?
CAF offers other more specific housing allowances:
- The ALS, social housing allowance, is aimed at people whose housing is not covered by an agreement. The amount will be a maximum of € 200. It is paid to the beneficiary but can be paid directly to the lessor.
- The ALF, family housing allowance, is intended for tenants outside the APL who have a dependent.
To benefit from the ALS or the ALF, all you have to do is apply on the CAF website. You will be asked for proof of your income and a rental certificate.
In addition to the social aid allocated to students at the national level (scholarships, APL, etc.), you can also obtain aid from the Regional Council to which you depend. These different aids vary according to the regions (and according to their elected representatives).
All regions offer assistance for students engaged in health and social training. If you are following a paramedical course (caregiver, paramedic, nurse, laboratory technician, midwife, occupational therapist, masseur, physiotherapist, pedicurist, podiatrist, pediatric nurse, psychomotor therapist, etc.) or a social course (educational coach, assistant, etc.) educator, instructor, family counselor, technician ...), you must make the request on the site of the regional council on which you depend.
As mentioned earlier, the Region can help you financially if you are going to continue your studies abroad. It can also offer you merit aid based on your baccalaureate results and your attendance at classes.
Our last tip, which will also allow you to save money: do not hesitate to show your student card when you subscribe to a leisure area, a library, public transport, in short, everywhere. Many organizations, public or private, offer preferential rates.