Studying for your undergraduate degree in France is a great educational experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the language and culture at the same time as your studies. France is well-known for its high academic standards across the world, and there are a large number of universities to choose from. You can live and study in some of the most scenic cities in Europe, from Paris to Lyon, Nice and Bordeaux.
However, living and studying in France comes with its costs. Whilst tuition fees are nowhere near as expensive as in the United States, for example, you will still have to pay for your education, unless you are a permanent resident or citizen of a country in the European Economic Area or Switzerland (these students do not have to pay tuition fees). Undergraduate fees are c. 2,770€ per year for state universities and can be a lot more for private institutions.
Moreover, living costs can be very expensive, especially in bigger cities like Paris. So, below are the best scholarships available for international students coming to study in France.
Top undergraduate scholarships for international students in France
1. Emile Boutmy Scholarship at Sciences Po Paris
Sciences Po – the Institute of Political Studies of Paris – is the highest ranked political and social sciences school in France. Traditionally, it is the university that most of the French political elite have studied at before joining the ranks of their respective political parties. Sciences Po offers very well-regarded programs of study in business, journalism and public affairs as well.
The Emile Boutmy Scholarship is named after the school’s founder and is aimed at non-European students wishing to study for a full-time degree here. It offers a tuition grant of up to 7,300€ per year for the 3 years for the undergraduate program, and can also be accompanied by a grant to cover part of the cost of living of 5,000€ per year.
2. René Seydoux Scholarship at Sciences Po Paris
Another funding opportunity for students of Sciences Po, this was founded with the support from Fondation de France in memory of René Seydoux and his commitment to dialogue in the Mediterranean region. This undergraduate scholarship for international students is specifically aimed at students who are citizens and/or residents of the ten countries located in the expanded Mediterranean basin: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Of course, it doesn’t apply to European citizens as they are exempt from tuition fees as previously explained.
At undergraduate level, successful applicants receive 20,000€ per year for the duration of their studies and also – if deciding to continue with a Master’s at Sciences Po – for the duration of their Master’s program. This should cover full tuition and living expenses.
3. Excellence-Major Scholarship
This scholarship was established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France in collaboration with the Agency for French Teaching Abroad, and is designed for the top non-French students graduating from French high schools abroad and wishing to pursue their studies in France. You can apply through your high school and can receive a scholarship for up to five years (the equivalent time for a student to achieve a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in French universities). Depending on your family’s financial situation, you can receive a range of either a lump sum per year or a monthly scholarship varying from c. 200€ to 600€ per month.
4. Social Scholarships from the French Ministry of Education
The French Ministry of Education and Research make available some social scholarships for non-European international students looking to obtain an undergraduate degree from a French university. However, your main residence needs to be based in France for two years in order to be eligible to apply for this sort of financial aid.
The amount of money you can receive is based on your family’s income and financial situation. Firstly, if you qualify, you will be exempt from paying tuition fees. Secondly, you will receive a monthly payment to help with living costs and expenses.
On top of the social scholarship, you may also be eligible for a merit-based undergraduate scholarship in France if you graduated from a French high school with a grade of “Très bien” on your Baccalaureate (this will be an additional 200€ per month for 9 months). You can further obtain mobility aid for studying or doing an internship abroad during your university degree (400€ per month over 2 to 9 months).
5. French Embassy Scholarships – Various countries
Depending on your country of origin, the French embassies organize a number of scholarships to attract international students every year. These vary based on social criteria or academic merit and are not always available year on year, so your best course of action is to check with the French embassy in your country.
For example, the French Embassy in Mexico offers study and research scholarships in France from undergraduate through to doctorate levels. Similarly, the French Embassy in India offers the “Charpak” excellence scholarship program for Indian students looking to pursue an undergraduate or post-graduate degree in a French university.
6. Francis Bouygues Foundation Scholarship
The Francis Bouygues Foundation offers excellence-based scholarships for undergraduates, as well as a hand-holding and counselling service for career planning. To apply, you must have finished a French high school or have a French / Francophone culture (i.e. have studied in a French high school abroad). You must prove that your family’s income is below 20,000€ per year and also show motivation and a personal project.
The amount of financial support of this undergraduate scholarship in France for international students will then depend on your requirements and of course, on your application and merit.
7. Local Authority Scholarships
Depending on where your university is based or your residence in France (if you live there already), local authorities frequently set money aside for education and will make available a limited amount of funds to support higher education for their students or students coming into their region from abroad. This is very local and should be researched specifically for the area you are looking to study in.
I hope that this article on undergraduate scholarships for international students in France was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!