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Posted on 1 Jun '23

6 Ways to Make Studying in France More Affordable

France is a very popular location for postgraduate study, but it isn’t necessarily the cheapest. While the government subsidises tuition, university fees can still be a considerable investment.

To help you save money both before and during your degree, we’ve put together six ways you can make postgraduate study in France more affordable.

#1 Attend a public university

Compared to other parts of Europe, French tuition fees are fairly reasonable, particularly at public universities.

Both domestic, EU/EEA and international students are charged the same PhD tuition fees, at €380 per year. Typically, a PhD will take four years and so total tuition sits at €1,580.

At private universities, tuition is not subsidised by the government and each institution has the right to set their own fees. These can range from €3,000-€10,000 per year so make sure to check the costs of each university you’re interested in.

#2 Sort accommodation early

After tuition, rent is the next big budget consideration. The cheapest option for postgraduate students is to live in student halls. As these are typically the most affordable options they’re also in high demand and so the sooner you’re able to apply, the better.

Generally, university halls cost around €250-300 per month, depending on which city you live in. Organisations such as CROUS also rent out publicly owned housing at rates subsidised by the government. These halls cost on average €350 per month, or €450 in Paris.

#3 Live outside the city centre

Another way to keep rent down is to live outside of the city centre. Typically, central apartments and housing cost more due to high demand, close amenities and short commute times. However, often living further out and investing in a travel card can help reduce the monthly expenditure.

Also, make sure to check the average living costs for the university cities you’re interested in. Locations such as Paris, Lyon and Toulouse are all more expensive to live in than the national average whereas Grenoble, Lille and Strasbourg are generally cheaper.

#4 Work while you study

Another great way to manage your financial situation is to bring money in with a part-time job. All students are given the right to work throughout their degree. Most universities will have a careers service or portal advertising casual work opportunities.

Your department will also likely offer research and teaching assistance roles which you can enquire about.

While international students are allowed to work during a postgraduate degree, there are a few restrictions. You’ll need a valid residence permit and will only be able to work up to 964 hours per year, or the equivalent to 60% of a full-time job.

#5 Apply for university or regional scholarships

In France, there are many different scholarships available for postgraduate students. At a national level, the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme provides bursaries and grants to help offset living costs and travel expenses for international students.

At a more localised level, many universities have their own in-house funding opportunities. These may be topic specific, awarded based on academic merit or on personal need. Each of the 22 regions in France also have some autonomy in providing funding for postgraduate education. Make sure to check the websites for the relevant Conseils Regional to see what’s on offer and have a read of our France funding guide for more information.

#6 Search for student deals

As with most countries, there are many student deals around to take advantage of. France houses various student associations which organise cheap cultural trips, sporting activities and hobby meet-ups. Keep an eye out for student travel cards available on most train and bus services.

Also, consider using on-campus facilities. Cooked meals can cost as little as €3.30, compared to €15 at an inexpensive restaurant in the city.

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Last Updated: 01 June 2023