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 as they can practice or improve their French, visit famous museums, and experience the typical “à la française” lifestyle.
One major benefit which students studying in France will enjoy is the country's fee system.
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.
- Bachelor’s programmes, the average tuition fees are around 190 EUR per year.
- Engineering degrees have higher tuition fees of around 620 EUR per academic year.
- The average tuition fees for Medicine studies can lead to 450 EUR per year.
- The average fees for a Master are around 260 EUR/year and for a PhD 396 EUR/year; you should expect higher fees for certain specialised degrees.
Tuition fees at other types of institutions
- Grandes ecoles – 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 in private universities start from 1,500 and can reach 20,000 EUR per year.
- In business schools, regardless of the degree level, fees range between 5,000 and 7,000 EUR a year.
Most affordable universities in France
Check the list of French universities with the most affordable tuition fees:
- University Lille Sciences et Technologies – average tuition fees 261 EUR/year;
- Université de Lyon – average tuition fees 500 EUR/year;
- Université du Maine – average tuition fees 500 EUR/year;
- Grenoble INP Institute of Engineering Univ. Grenoble Alpes - average tuition of 261 EUR/year;
- University of Burgundy – average tuition fees 500 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 EUR/year;
- Pierre and Marie Curie University – average tuition fees 350 EUR/year;
- École Supérieure d'Electricite SUPELEC – average tuition fees 2,000 EUR/year
- Paris Descartes University – average tuition fees 261 EUR/year
2. Living costs in France
Average living costs in French cities and towns
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 of the large cities in France:
- Paris: between 1,140 and 1,650 EUR/month (sometimes including the accommodation, if you choose to live in a student hall of residence);
- Nice: between 850 and 1,250 EUR/month;
- Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux or Toulouse: between and 800 – 1.200 EUR;
- For the rest of France, you can manage with smaller amounts (at least 650 EUR).
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 – between 150 and 600 EUR/month, including facilities, if the room is private or shared. Around 13% of international students live in student residences;
- Rent/share an apartment – between 400 and 700 EUR/month, while in smaller French cities you can rent a small apartment for about 300 EUR/month;
- If you will live with your partner and/or child(ren), the price for rent would 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. However, they all include at least one meal per day.
According to a study made by Eurostudent.eu, international students’ satisfaction rate regarding accommodation conditions in France is around 58%, which is just a small percent below 60%, the average rate for Europe.
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 are always celebrating 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 even 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 to have dinner include the Courtepaille restaurant chain, Buffalo Grill, or inexpensive restaurants in Paris, like Michi.
- A monthly pass for the bus, metro or tram is usually somewhere around 30 EUR;
- Taxis are also relatively inexpensive in Paris, around 1.25 EUR/km, and you would spend 7 – 10 EUR for a short journey;
- You can also rent a bike through the Vélib bicycle rental programme, but Bordeaux is the city in France most bike-friendly;
- You can also use the TGV to visit other cities in France, for around 30 EUR a trip.
Extra costs and savings
- Healthcare mutual 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.
3. 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 10,000 EUR scholarships per year to students that are maximum 30 years old the year of acceptance, and who satisfy 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 that 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 6,102 EUR. At the same time, those eligible for a grant receive exemption or reduction in health coverage.
If you are not from the EU/ EEA, you should apply for a French students 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: