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Low Tuition in France: Cost of Studying and Accommodation




    What is the cost of studying in France? If you are interested in studying on low tuition in France, one of the most important things to consider is the cost involved. This article will break down the cost of every aspect of university life to ensure that you have all your questions answered.  

    Note that the costs and exchange rates are correct only at the time of publication and may vary overtime. 

    Tuition fees

    Tuition fees in France are generally low compared with other countries in Europe. Most tertiary  institutions in France are funded by the state, that explains why a nominal fee is charged depending on the level of study.

    An average public institution in France in 2017 charged only €189 (£167) per year for a bachelor’s degree, €259 (£230) for a master’s degree, €393 (£348) for a PhD and €611 (£541) for an engineering program.

    It is important to point out that universities in France typically charge administration charges, and that leads to an increase in the price – however, the total amount is much lower than in other developed countries such as the UK.

    In order to study at one of France’s very selective private grandes écoles or grands établissments, you are expected to pay between €500-€600 (£443-£532) per year, however some institutions charge up to €10,000 (£8,864) per year. A bunch of them only offer postgraduate courses, such as Ecole Normal Supérieure in Paris, which expects you to attend two years of preparatory school or to transfer across after two or more years of undergraduate study. The cost is €750 (£665) per year and the charge is the same for international students – like most French institutions. 

    A private university that teaches engineering, management or business can go up to €30,000 (£26,592) per year. 

    Note that the average bachelor’s degree takes roughly three to four years, so students should budget €567 (£503) or for an average two-year master’s degree, €518 (£459)

    Accommodation Expenses

    Accommodation in France is much more affordable than in the UK, and the standard average is €200-€300 (£177-£266) per month. Local and international students have tons of options when it comes to living; student halls of residence, a shared apartment or a homestay. 

    Note that the average rental amount of a studio apartment (for one or two people) is €457 (£405) per month and €542 (£480) for a one-bedroom apartment.Apartments are usually measured in metres squared and the average rent per square metre in Paris is about €15 (£13), or €7 (£6.20) per square metre elsewhere in France. 

    A homestay would cost €200-€800 (£177-£709), based on the location – which would include at least one meal per day.  

    French universities will offer housing commonly known as Cités-U cheaply (some as little as €120 or £106 per month outside of Paris) and they are operated by CROUS, the regional branch of CNOUS the national student service agency. Have at the back of your mind that general demand is high and is given out based on social criteria or for students taking part in an exchange or on a scholarship. There are also tons of other private organisations that provide high quality student residences, such as Résidences Estudines, CLEF and ADELE. 

    Students are encouraged to apply for a grant from the local Caisse d’Allocation Familiale (CAF) in order to receive a student rebate for part of their rent. You may not always be eligible for it but it costs nothing to apply and students can receive up to 35 per cent of their rent back monthly. 

    Essential student costs 

    On average, the monthly electricity, gas and internet budget is €60 (£53) and an average internet connection costs can go up to €25 (£22) per month,usually split evenly between tenants.Text books and other program materials are €50 (£44) a month and paying into a health insurance mutual fund is highly encouraged and costs €20-€50 (£17-£44) per month, based on the admissions cover. Students who hail from European Economic Area countries should be covered with a European health insurance card (EHIC).

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    Monthly phone bills are roughly €25 (£22), however, some online deals are as little as €10 (£11) per month. 

    A litre of petrol would cost €1.33 (£1.18) while a monthly travel card or transport pass would go for €70 (£62), although for single forms of transport, they cut across €17-€33.

    It is interesting to note that Single-journey bike rental is popular across several French cities. A full year of access to the Vélib system (including unlimited 30 minute journeys all over the city) is €19 (£16). The average cost of a return journey on the TGV to another city is €25 (£22), when booked in advance. There is a youth discount railcard that costs €50 (£44) and can be worth it if regular cross-country travel is likely.

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    It is always worth researching student travelcard options, as for example in Paris, an unlimited Carte Imagine R is €38 per month, compared with a typical €70 (£62) per month for non-students. 

    Scholarship and financial support

    The low tuition education in France implies that international students from countries such as Canada, the Americas and Australia won’t be required to pay for tuition.

    Scholarships that include a stipend for living expenses are usually kept aside for students taking part  in Erasmus exchanges and a few engineering, business and medical students from former French-speaking colonies.

    There are a number of scholarships available for international students through  the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs or your country’s French Embassy.

    If you didn’t know, France is one of the best countries for student discounts and it is always important to ask if there is a price reduction for a product or service, whether you are in a restaurant, clothes shops, gallery or museum.

    To provide context, several galleries and museums are free for under-26s to enter. SNCF equally offers a Carte Jeune for discounts on train travel and car-sharing websites such as are fantastic and very popular.

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