In terms of popularity, France is listed as one of the top destinations for international students.
Home to some of the world’s best universities, students are also drawn to France because they can practise or improve their French, visit famous museums, and experience the typical “à la française” lifestyle. Another major benefit is the affordable tuition fee system.
Let’s find out more about the cost of studying and living in France for international students like you.
1. University tuition fees in France
Tuition fees at public universities
Tuition fees at public universities in France have variable prices, depending on your chosen study level.
- For Bachelor’s programmes, the average tuition fees are around 170 EUR per year.
- Engineering degrees have higher tuition fees of around 620 EUR per academic year.
- The average tuition fees for Medicine studies can reach up to 450 EUR per year.
- The average fees for a Master's degree are around 260 EUR/year and for a PhD 396 EUR/year; you should expect higher fees for certain specialised degrees.
Aside from tuition fees, you will also need to pay a contribution to campus and student life of 91 EUR.
Keep in mind that tuition fees at public universities often only apply to students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. If you are a non-EU citizen, you might have to pay more for your studies. To avoid confusion or future problems, visit the university/study programme page and check if tuition costs apply to students from your country.
Tuition fees at other higher education institutions
- Grandes ecoles – Foreign students will pay more at France’s highly selective grandes écoles and grands établissements (great schools and establishments), which set their own fees (about 500-600 EUR per year, but in some cases, they can lead up to 10,000 EUR per year).
- Private universities –Tuition fees start at 1,500 EUR and can go over 20,000 EUR per year.
- At business schools, regardless of the degree level, fees range between 5,000 and 30,000 EUR a year.
Most affordable universities in France
Check the list of French universities with the most affordable tuition fees:
- University of Orleans - tuition fees: 170 - 601 EUR/year
- University of Strasbourg - tuition fees: 184 - 610 EUR/year
- Grenoble INP Institute of Engineering Univ. Grenoble Alpes - tuition fees: 122 - 470 EUR/year
- University of Burgundy – tuition fees: 170 - 601 EUR/year
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities
Here is a list of average tuition fees at the top-ranked French universities:
- École Polytechnique – average tuition fees 12,000 - 19,850 EUR/year
- Paris Descartes University – average tuition fees 170 - 380 EUR/year
2. Average student living costs in France
The overall living costs in France depend on your lifestyle, but, most of all, they depend on your chosen location, mainly the French city you live in.
Check the average budget you would need for each large city in France:
- Paris: between 1,200 and 1,800 EUR/month (sometimes including the accommodation, if you choose to live in a student hall of residence)
- Nice: between 900 and 1,400 EUR/month
- Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux or Toulouse: between 800 – 1,000 EUR
- For the rest of France, you can manage with smaller amounts (at least 650 EUR)
3. Student accommodation costs
Prices for accommodation are usually above the international average of 200 – 300 EUR/month.
The main housing options for students in France are:
- Student halls of residence – on average, 200 EUR/month. Paris is the exception, at 400 EUR/month. Around 13% of international students live in student residences. It's one of the most popular accommodation options among students, but the demand is much higher than the supply.
- Rent/share an apartment – between 400 and 700 EUR/month (800 EUR/month in Paris), while in smaller French cities you can rent a small apartment for about 300 EUR/month.
- If you live with your partner and/or child(ren), the price for rent will range from 700 to 1,000 EUR/month, and you could pay higher if you choose an apartment in the city centre. The utility bills (electricity, water, the internet) would be another 200 EUR/month.
- Host family – you can find rates that are only 200 EUR/month to about 800 EUR/month in Paris.
International students also have access to VISALE, which is a programme that acts as a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who promises to cover your rent costs if you can no longer do it. However, the VISALE programme only helps international students who rent an apartment/room in a university residence (student hall).
4. Food costs in France
French food is delicious, sophisticated and the common conception is that it is expensive as well. That may be because the French truly value every meal and they make it seem like they always celebrate something when they eat. However, food is not pricey all over France.
One person can expect to spend on average about 250 – 300 EUR/month on groceries in Paris, or less in the provinces.
The average price for a meal in the least expensive restaurant costs between 10 and 15 EUR. In gourmet restaurants, menus can be more expensive.
A more affordable option where you can have a meal anywhere in France are the bistros, brasseries and crepe stands. Some bistros serve substantial meals, and a crepe can take the place of lunch and prices are from 5 to 8 EUR.
You will get the best value if you buy from the supermarket; the cheapest supermarkets in France are Leclerc, followed by Géant Casino. Affordable places for having dinner include the Courtepaille restaurant chain, Buffalo Grill, or inexpensive restaurants in Paris, like Michi.
5. Transportation costs
- A monthly pass for the bus, metro or tram is usually between 30 - 75 EUR.
- Taxis are also relatively inexpensive in Paris, around 1.50 EUR/km, and you would spend 7 – 10 EUR for a short journey.
- You can rent a bike through the Vélib bicycle rental programme; in France, Bordeaux is the most bike-friendly city.
- You can also use the TGV to visit other cities in France for around 30 EUR a trip.
6. Extra costs and savings
- Health insurance costs 20 – 50 EUR/month, depending on the chosen cover.
- Books or other learning materials average at 50 EUR/month.
- If you purchase an international youth travel card, you can get major discounts to visit sights around France.
You can also use the Numbeo website to check out other prices and costs in France.
7. University scholarships and grants
Scholarships for international students are offered by some universities, by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the French embassy from your country.
Some universities offer scholarships of 10,000 EUR per academic year to students who are maximum 30 years old the year of acceptance and who meet the criteria of academic excellence.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers scholarships through The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme, mainly for students who enrol in Master’s (1,181 EUR/month) and PhD courses (1,400 EUR/month).
Most grants are awarded on the basis of financial need to students who are less than 28 years of age. The amount awarded for the need-based grant depends on the assessment of social criteria and varies between 1,606 and 4,600 EUR per year. The merit-based grant ranges from 1,800 to 6,100 EUR. At the same time, those eligible for a grant receive exemption or discount in healthcare coverage.
You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies in France.
8. French visa costs
If you are not from the EU/ EEA, you should apply for a French student visa, which costs 99 EUR.
Now that you have an overview of tuition fees and living costs in France, you can also check some details about the French student visa requirements, based on your nationality: