How to Study in France for Free

How to Study in France for Free

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In France, higher education is an important part of domestic policy. Around 20% of funds from the state budget go towards quality education. This is why France attracts candidates from all over the world.

We’ll tell you how you can go to a French university and get an Eiffel Scholarship.

Studying in France

French universities take on 343,400 international students every year.

France’s most popular areas of study are IT, linguistics, teaching, medicine, engineering, and art.

A Bachelor’s degree takes two years, and a Master’s degree takes one or two years.

Types of Universities

France has around 3,500 higher educational institutions. They’re divided into state universities, grandes écoles, and private universities.

Training in French universities takes the form of lectures, seminars, and practical work. Students get theoretical and practical skills in various areas. You don’t need to take any exams for admission.

Some of the best universities in France include:

Grandes écoles are state and private universities with state accreditation and academic traditions. Like universities, grandes écoles train specialists in various fields.

You need to take an entrance exam to enter a grande école. The admission requirements are very strict. Preparing for exams can take up to 2 years.

Private schools prepare students for practical work in civil aviation, architecture, and industrial design. Creative educational institutions are also included in the category of specialized schools.

Since France is in the Eurozone, the currency in circulation is the euro (€). There are seven denominations of euro banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500. In terms of coins, the denominations are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents (1 euro = 100 cents) and 1- and 2-euro coins. One euro is worth a little over a dollar.

Getting Admitted to a French University

The majority of French universities don’t have entrance exams. Your school or university marks play an important role. If you want to go to a grande école, you’ll need additional preparation and to pass an exam.

You can apply for admission through the Campus France system or directly to the university.

In addition to a translated and notarized copy of your certificate or diploma, international students must also provide:

  • Results from TCF-DAP or TCF-TP tests, DELF or DALF exams to study in French, and TOEFL/IELTS results to study in English
  • A motivation letter
  • A certificate that you have sufficient finances, at least €615 per month.

Grading Policy

France has a 20-point grading system. The passing score is 10. It’s equivalent to a C grade. 12-14 points is a B, and 15+ is an A.

Only 1% of students get higher than 18 points.

Tuition Expenses

Study program costs depend on the subject and type of university. The tuition cost at a state university is €3,700, and at private business schools, it’s around €15,000.

Cost of Living

The key student cities are Paris, Toulouse, Lyon, Dijon, Grenoble, Lille, and Strasbourg. Students can live in university dormitories or rented apartments.

If the university doesn’t offer accommodation, students get a subsidy to find their own.

The cost of living depends on the city. The most expensive is Paris, where renting a room costs around €700 per month. In other cities, you’ll likely pay €300 to €600.

Food costs range from €150 to €300 per month. Yearly medical insurance is €189. You’ll spend around €50 and €150 per semester on study materials.

Students receive transport benefits and discounts on entertainment programs.

Part-Time Work for Students

A student without a scholarship can work during their free time. You need to get permission from the Department of Labor and Employment.

The maximum amount of time you can spend working during the week while studying is 19.5 hours. There are no restrictions during the holidays.

You can find a job yourself or with the help of the Centre national des oeuvres universitaires et scolaires (CNOUS) at your university.

When you finish studying, you can get a Post Study Visa. It gives you the right to spend a year looking for work.


All French students have the right to social aid amounting to €100–€150 to partially cover their rental costs.

Students can apply for the following scholarships:

  • The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program
  • The scholarship program from the French government offered by the French Embassy
  • Civil Society Leadership Awards
  • École Normale Supérieure International Selection
  • Ampere Scholarships of Excellence at ENS de Lyon
  • Emile Boutmy Scholarships at Sciences Po University
  • Université Paris-Saclay International Master’s Scholarships
  • HEC Paris MBA Scholarships.

Eiffel Scholarship

The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program is the most popular grant in France for outstanding international students. It’s been handed out by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1999.

The Eiffel Scholarship is valid for the entire academic period (between 10 and 36 months), provided that the student agrees with the university’s requirements. The amount of the monthly stipend is:

  • €1,181 for Master’s students
  • €1,400 for Ph.D. students.

The scholarship doesn’t cover tuition costs. It applies to:

  • Travel expenses
  • University admission payments
  • Social insurance costs
  • Accommodation payments
  • Purchasing scientific literature
  • Visiting cultural and sporting events.

Conditions for Receiving the Eiffel Scholarship

The scholarship applies to Master’s and Ph.D. programs beginning in the fall in the following areas:

  • Engineering
  • Exact and natural sciences
  • Economics and management
  • Law and political science.

The application for the scholarship is submitted by the university in France that the candidate is admitted to. The deadline is usually January 9, but it may differ for the 2022-23 academic year. The results are announced in the last week of March. Conditions for receiving the scholarship are:

  • Under 25 years of age for Master’s students and 30 years of age for Ph.D. students
  • High academic achievements
  • You can only apply to one university.


France has a wide choice of universities and fields. International candidates can rely on quality education, benefits, and financial aid.

To receive a scholarship, you must study candidates’ requirements in detail and prepare your documents in advance. For help, you can contact Univibes advisors who have obtained higher education in the universities you’re interested in.

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