Step-by-Step Guide to Financing Your Studies in France

Step-by-Step Guide to Financing Your Studies in France

France is the fourth most popular study abroad destination of international students. In fact, over 310,000 international students are currently studying in the country. With 114 public institutions spread across the country and a high standard of education, the country continues to lure students.

France is also a very affordable destination for students when using financial aid, scholarships, students discounts and government supports.

Learn How to Finance Your Studies and Keep Costs Down While Studying in France


 1. Degrees Run for Shorter Periods of Time in France

An undergraduate degree generally runs for 3 years rather than 4 years like in the US.  The shorter program duration will help lower tuition fees overall for students.

2. Attend a French Public University

One of the many benefits of studying France is that tuition is subsidized by the government. Students can expect very low tuition fees at French public universities, compared to other countries in Europe.  For example, the cost of an undergraduate degree will average between $235 to $705 USD per year, while a postgraduate degree generally costs between $304 to $461 USD per year.

3. Incorporate Living Expenses Into Your Budget

A rule of thumb when planning where to study in France is to incorporate living expenses into your budget. Living expenses can often get away from students if they do not plan for them ahead of time. A good place to start researching expenses such as rent, utilities, food and much more is at Numbeo is a great resource when trying to decide if a city is reasonable or entirely out of your price range.

4. Focus on Smaller Less Expensive Cities

Since most students are on a tight budget, focusing on universities in cities with a lower cost of living can help keep finances manageable. Smaller cities, away from Paris, such as Metz, Montpellier, and Nice are much more affordable areas and will offer students a more authentic experience.

5. Live in Student Housing

Another way for students to keep costs down is to live in student housing available throughout France. Most French universities offer student accommodation known as “Cités-U” and are run by CROUS the national student service agency.  However, there is a large demand for student housing, especially in Paris.  Therefore, housing is usually reserved for financial aid, scholarship recipients and exchange students.  If you plan to live in student accommodation you should start planning when you receive your acceptance letter.  You can find information regarding these housing agencies at the following websites:

Private apartment rentals are also available for students at the following websites:

ADELE the Association for Economic Development provides a website with student housing around France.

Estudines  offers apartments in thirty different cities around France from $481 to $963.

CLEF the Center for Student Accommodation in France offers student housing located in several cities (Grenoble, Rouen, and Evreux)  in France with rents ranging from $240 to $361.

6. Apply for Housing Assistance

La Caisse des Allocations Familiales (CAF) is a type of rental assistance paid to any person living in France who qualifies, including international students. This benefit is offered by the french government and can help offset the cost of housing in France.  Students often qualify for this benefit since they generally have lower or no income and are living on a tight budget.

7. You May Be Able to Use Your Financial Aid at some Participating French Institutions

The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Graduate Plus Loans available to eligible student borrowers at participating institutions in France. Students may apply for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan up to $20,500 per academic year or a Graduate Plus loan (amounts vary).

The following institutions participate in the U.S. Government Federal William D. Ford Direct Loan Program:

8. Apply for Grants

Grants for International students are awarded by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs. If  awarded a grant, the Centre National des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires (CNOUS) can help students with applications and with getting settled once they have landed in France.

Different Types of Grants

Depending on your goal, French embassies abroad might be able to offer you a specific type of grant:

  • Study grants are awarded to students enrolled in a degree program at a higher education institution in France.
  • Internship grants usually have an average duration of 3 to 12 months and are awarded to students involved in advanced courses or training related to their professional activities. Students may also be eligible for a short language course or teaching course for up to 3 months by the French Ministry of Education.
  • High-level scientific course grants are awarded as part of a cultural, scientific, technical or industrial research and exchange program. The duration generally runs for a period of 1 to 3 months.

9.  Apply for Scholarships

Many countries offer scholarships to their students who wish to pursue their studies abroad.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers scholarships to foreign students taking part in specific programs.

Eiffel Scholarship Program

The Eiffel scholarship is specifically for international students studying for a Master’s degree at  a French university.

Eligibility for the scholarship includes the following:

  • Under 30 years old
  • Proof that you intend to complete your studies in France
  • Proof of non-french citizenship

The application period for the Eiffel Scholarship is from October to January and results are usually announced the third week of March.

EDHEC Scholarship

The EDHEC scholarship awards grants to international students and covers up to 40% of a student’s tuition. The application period begins in March and ends in June of each year.  More information is available at the EDHEC Scholarship website.

Scholarship Portal

The Campus Bourses website operated through offers a comprehensive list of scholarships available to international students from around the world.  You will find the tool to be very intuitive and easy to use. Select your country and start searching for scholarships today.

10. Apply for Student Loans

EU/EEA students: Some schools have partnered with the Banque Populaire Rives de Paris to offer loans to students of all nationalities up to a maximum amount of 21,500 Euros.

11. Work While You Study

Non-EU/EEA students and EU students are able to work up to 964 hours a year to help support themselves during their studies in France.  The student’s university must be enrolled in the national student health plan. Non-EU/EEA students must also have a valid residency permit.

In France there is a guaranteed minimum salary of $10.11 an hour.

There are many jobs to be found for international students in the tourist industry, such as at hotels, cafes, clubs and restaurants.  Students should begin their employment search with their university.


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