France 2015/16 - student fees and grants

Country: France
Date of publication: 2016
Fees - first cycle (euro): min 183
Fees - second cycle (euro): min 256
Fees - note: Approximately 65 % of students pay fees
Grants - note: Approximately 35 % of students receive grants
Need-based grant (euro): min 0 - max 5545
Merit-based grant (euro): most common 900

National student fee

The amount of fees per year fixed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research is EUR 184 in the first cycle (L1, L2, L3) and EUR 256 in the second cycle (M1, M2). In addition fees of EUR 215 per year, irrespective of the cycle of studies, are charged to all students aged 20-28. These fees are related to the social security system. A number of universities have decided to add associated costs related to specific services (e.g. for diplomas related to continuing learning and training). In some public universities, depending on the type of studies and the
qualifications acquired, the fees can reach more than EUR 2 000 per year.

Fees in the grandes écoles and engineering schools vary, but the most common amount is EUR 600 per year – not including fees related to social security and partnerships with universities. Tuition fees in some institutions reach up to EUR 10 000 per year, depending on family income. However, there are also grandes écoles which not only deliver education without charging fees, but may even pay some students (such students are prospective civil servants and receive a wage from the State), e.g. in école polytechnique and écoles normales supérieures.

Students who receive a grant (34.7 % of the student population in 2014/15) are exempted from fees.

Non-EU students pay the same fees as those from within the EU.

Student grants

Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need to students less than 28 years of age.

The annual amount awarded for need-based grants depends on an assessment of social criteria, with students classified into categories based on family income. Within the framework of a reform of grants (2014) a new category of grant amounting to EUR 1 007 has been introduced for the most deprived (based on family income) lower middle-class students who previously benefited only from a fee waiver. As of 2014, students who receive a need-based grant can also get a complementary merit-based grant (based on school performance from the baccalauréat results) which amounts to EUR 900.

All grant holders receive free tuition and a waiver from social security contributions (EUR 215). In 2014/15, the amount of the annual grant ranges from EUR 0 (for lower middle-class students who only receive a fee waiver) to EUR 5 545.


Loans are also available. In 2008, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research started a new policy to make loans easier for all students aged under 28. It provides loans up to a maximum of EUR 15 000, guaranteed by a special fund 'OSEO'. Less than 0.1 % of university students take out such a loan.

Tax benefit for student's parents

Parents are eligible for tax relief if students are financially dependent on them, and are less than 25 years old. The amount of tax relief is proportional to the amount of taxable income of the household.

Family allowances

Family allowances are paid for two or more dependent children that are under 20 years old. The minimum amount is EUR 129.35 per month.

Source: Eurydice, National Student Fee and Support Systems 2013/2014, 2015/2016, 2016/2017
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