studying at a french university

15 Replies



My daughter has lived in France since August 2006 and is currently at lycee.  We were discussing the options of studying at a UK university or a French university.  I believe there will be changes to the maintenance loan in 2016.  Can someone give me an idea of fees for a french university. thanks

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heureux 1453037833

Universities are free in France, but there are also private schools for which you pay.

Harry Dresden 1453040124

It depends on how much you earn.

If you aare below the threshold for earnings and have a big family then there is a grant (top figure around 450€ a month) and you only pay admin costs if at all.

Otherwise the fees start at 2-3 000€ pa, a room in a residence varies from 150-300€ a month and you can get student  travel cards with a lot of reductions.

I expect things have gone up a little since our daughter started at Nantes 8 years ago but she got a full grant because she is the eldest of 3, there were no school fees to pay and her residence room was a 150€ a month. We had to pay for books and travel and top up her living allowance but it was very doable. She even got a a card for travel on the bus and tram in Nantes for about 200€ pa. She went Nanterre to do her Masters which was obviously more expensive but still with the occasional handout and help wtih her car she managed to do the whole course  without taking out a loan but she did get a part-time job at Mc Do's.

Her brother went to a private school attached to the Catholic university in Angers so this was more expensive (fees between 4 &5 000€ pa) but he still qualified for a room in a cheap residence and lots of student reducitons.   


geegee42 1453080389

As stated the fees are minimal, few hundred  Euro's, grants or bourse's are available for families on low incomes, financial help is available if you study in the UK but it depends on course and income, you need to check with the crous, my daughter is hoping to do the final year of her masters in the UK but only has a choice of two university's, one of my other daughters did an Erasmus in the UK as part of her course and only had choice of one UK uni, she received a bourse and an extra grant towards accomodation and travel costs, accomodation is costly in parts of the UK, it is cheaper to go to university in France, four of my daughters went and left with no debt, which is a bonus when starting out in life, friends of theirs went off to university in the UK and ended up with forty odd grands worth of student loans.

pony1 1453104146

My daughter is keen to go back to the UK but does not like the idea of a large debt (although I do understand that it is repayable only if you earn over £21,000).  She is now fluent in french, has studied spanish since 6eme and has just started italien. (She is in her first year of lycee).  At the moment she does not know what career to follow but understands that languages could open many doors.  She has chosen to do a BAC ES as she does not like science and does not want to do literature.  With regard to the "ERASMUS" would a student only do this if they were not fluent in english?  Perhaps my daughter may be happy to study in France if she could be one year in the UK!

Karen-381938 1453108995

If your daughter fancies a Scottish uni, her fees will be paid by the Scottish awards body, as she is an EC student (at least on current rules). She would not be entitled to a student loan for living expenses though. Most courses in Scotland are 4 years, and of course it is more difficult and expensive to travel home to France.

My son is at Aberdeen uni and has had all his fees paid.

He also receives a means tested bourse from CROUS, although In this past year, they seem to be making life very difficult for students studying in the UK. He has had to wait months for his payments this last term (he finally received 3 months' worth of payments just before the Christmas holidays after a protracted fight with them!), and I have heard from others that they have put all sorts of obstacles in the way of new applicants. It is however, very clear on the CROUS website that students studying outside France ARE entitled to a bourse, providing all the criteria are met.


Bolt123 1453114586

My son is at Uni in Rennes. I pay the normal rate for his Korrigo card, is there a reduction available?

Harry Dresden 1453116108

My daughter did 7 years studies at Nantes and Paris (including stages and her bar exam) and had no debts or loans at the end of it all. One of her friends from lycée after a first degree and an MA has now £70,000 to pay back.

It's all very well to say you don't have to start paying it back but you would never be able to get a mortgage either side of the channel with this kind of debt and once you reach 40 you would struggle to get a mortgage anyway. 

geegee42 1453118519

Bolt, one of my daughters studied at Rennes and as a student had entitlement to free bus and tram travel but apparently they don't advertise the fact.

Dibbyspot 1453119383

Speaking with UK based friends they prefer to label the University fees a "graduate tax" - bizarre.

Check out the many Universities across the EU where there is no fee payable and teaching is in English - if that is impportant. For a University in the UK be very choosey as many are of limited quality. It is not worth having large debt for mediocre performance.  Some employers now only consider graduates from  "Russell Group Universities" so it really depends on what it is that you study.

The joke doing the rounds sums it up - "What do you say to a Media Studies graduate? Mines a double expresso!". Buyer beware.

janes-394036 1453127139

Don't forget that Scottish universities don't charge fees to EU students. Don't forget that if you're entitled to a maintenance grant to go to a French university, you will also be entitled to the same grant to go an EU one provided the course is recognised (most are). Here's a link to the Times Higher Education ranking for universities.!/page/0/length/25


Durham Lass-390934 1453127745

Following with interest


geegee42 1453128183

If you are resident in France then you can do an Erasmus year anywhere else in the EU, but only at certain university's, half of the students that went over to the UK with one of my daughters got jobs and stayed there, ones in Bristol and thinks its wonderful but then she came from a small village so it would be slightly different.

56fr 1453502510

Scottish unis are not free for the english.... the trick is to get register yourself at a scottish address and then apply to ucas via that address (thats if she is english; if she is from the eu dont worry its free)... thats how alot of my mates got free tuition fees at scottish unis and also students who had emigrated to oz etc when they were 10 and wanted to avoid internatio al student rates....judge the ethics as you wish....

Dont worry bout the student debt it doesnt stop you getting loans/ mortgages or whatever...its not detectable in the credit scoring system of the UK....and in France we all know this system doesnt exist. Plus you have 25 years or till you are 50 to pay off the debt then its wiped off; i graduated 13 years ago and still have 14 grand owing i doubt i'll pay it off...and plus no one cares about it anymore as everyone has debt...its normalised.... (the only annoying thing is that if you join a company with scottish graduates and start on the same salary you'll be 100-200£ a month worse off than them as thats your average repayments and that matters when you are a graduate earning interest rates are pegged at interest rates...ok for now but during the boom years it crippled most of us)....

Furthermore having worked with french stagieres/graduates and british students/graduates in my industry (offshore renewables) the differences are notable. Its important to think of what the uni teaches you and how it prepares you for your career...French unis are theory heavy but produce students who lack the ability to think outside the box. British unis have less contact hours but produce graduates who think for themselves and are often more team the social life/busa life is amazing in the UK;  playing in a sports team is a chance to network...your drinking mate could become a valuable asset in the future..... the debt will take care of itself...its normal now...unfortuntely....

56fr 1453503785

Plus if you study abroad and come back to work in France the HR dept wont know where to put your qualification on that stupid matrix.... i know a few people who did 2 yrs iut in france joined a uk degree course in the 2nd year (pretty common practice) did 1 year; then yr in placement and then their final (so only 2 years of studying) came back to france and their BSc qualification put them in the same bracket as a french student who did iut+ecole superior in engineering.... bonus....

orme2 1453506778

The IUTs here a very good for a more hands-on approach and very much appreciated by employers.  You can do the 2 year course then go on to an extra year at university here for the degree, then a couple more years and internship for a Masters.   This gives you the best of both worlds - IUT and internship for the practical, useful side and Uni for the more theoretical side.

No-one has to worry about French students learning to think outside the box - they are just as innovative, creative and, nowadays, good at team work as anyone else.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating - you only have to look at how well the French did in the innovation awards at the recent CES show in Las Vegas.

The campus life in France may not be as boozy as in the UK, but then the UK in general has a certain reputation as far as booze is concerned!


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