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Universities for Expats in France

Submitted: October 2013

France is renowned for providing affordable access to higher education institutions. Furthermore, they have over 20 universities in the QS World Ranking of the Top 500 Universities.
Students are able to pursue degree levels such as the Licence (Undergraduate), Master, or Doctorate one of the 83 public universities in France.

In addition to the system of public universities, a number of institutions called Grandes écoles are in existence. These prestigious institutions, which may be public or private, often specialise in a particular field such as business or sciences and are highly selective. Please refer to the following link: (https://www.cge.asso.fr/nos-membres/ecoles/liste-des-ecoles for a list of Grandes écoles. There are also a number of private institutions such as Catholic or American universities.

As public institutions are funded by the government, academic fees are quite affordable. For the 2013-2014 academic year, annual fees for obtaining a license degree are set at €183, € 254 for a master’s programme, €388 for a doctoral programme and €606 for students in public engineering schools.

Private universities in France are however much more costly with fees ranging from €2,000 to €30,000 per academic year.

Students can also benefit from the numerous scholarships available. These scholarships may be merit or needs based. For a list of scholarships available to both European Union students as well as international students, please refer to the following link: https://www.campusfrance.org/fria/bourse/index.html#app=faac&21d1-si=0. Through this resource, you can select your area of study and nationality to view some of the scholarships that are available to you.

The government of France has established a national agency for promoting higher education called Campus France. Through this agency, prospective students receive a wealth of information ranging from visa processing to selecting your university. You can refer to its website for information regarding the entire university process in France at https://www.campusfrance.org.

If you or your children are from a European Union country, you do not need to have a study visa in order to attend university in France. Other international students however are required to have student visas. The type of student visa required would depend on the length of your course.

If you are not being supported financially through a bursary by the French or an international government, you are required to show that you have the necessary means to support your living expenses in France. These individuals must show that they have approximately €615 per month for the duration of their course.

Universities in France offer numerous programmes which are taught in English as well as programmes which are bilingual. If however your prospective degree programme is taught in French and you are not a native French speaker, you are required to have a French qualification. This is evidenced by undergoing a French language examination such as TCF (Test de Connaissance du Français - Test of knowledge of French language), TEF (Test d’Évaluation de Français - French assessment test), DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française - Diploma of French-language studies) or DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française - Advanced diploma in French language). You should check with your selected institution to determine which certification is necessary for admission. Many of the language schools in France offer certification in the above mentioned examinations and their branches in your home country such as Alliance Française may offer this as well.

If your child studied in France and received the Baccalauréat or is in receipt of the International Baccalauréat, entry into the public university system is guaranteed. They are required to enrol via the Admission Post Bac portal (https://www.admission-postbac.fr/). British A-levels are generally accepted as a qualification for French universities but the American High School Diploma on its own is not accepted. Nationality specific guides for this process can be found at: https://www.admission-postbac.fr/index.php?desc=notices
The admissions process for attendance at a Grande école is much more intensive requiring two further years of study and the successful completion of further examinations. For an overview of the process, please refer to the following link:
https://www.universityguideonline.org/contents/institution_types_europe.aspx

Please be advised that as France is a popular destination for students seeking higher education, the French Consulate in your home country would be able to provide you with information to guide you along this process.

The following websites below provide helpful resources regarding finding accommodation, cost of living, budgets and practical information in selecting a university:

 

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