Why should I study in France?

The world's most visited country ever with beautiful cities, language and vineyards... 

How to Study in France

With its capital Paris and a large variety of landscapes, France is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. Yet it also offers wide-ranging possibilities for studies to international students. In 2020 U-Multirank presents comparative data on 54 French higher education institutions.

French University system

Other than most EU member states, France’s HEI landscape is divided into four parts: around 250 grandes écoles (usually small, public or private institution with very selective admission), more than 80 public universities, institutes of technology, and a number of schools specializing in arts, music, and architecture.

During the last years, there were many merges of French institutions into clusters, called PRES (pôles de recherche et de l’enseignement supérieures). They bring together local universities, research institutes, and specialized schools. Sometimes students have to enroll and degrees are awarded by the PRES, sometimes by individual institutions.

Following the Bologna process, the degree-structure is three-tiered: the license (three years, equivalent to a bachelor degree), the master (additional two years) and doctorate degrees (usually another three years). Furthermore, there is a degree for the medical professions, a ‘state license’, the Diplôme d´Etat.

France’s Higher Education System in International Comparison

Here we highlight the overall performance of French universities on the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. The below table shows the national breakdown of French universities and how they stand across the spectrum of above average (receiving a score of ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good)), or below average (receiving a score of ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak)). In doing so, U-Multirank offers a clear picture of the country’s strengths and areas for improvement.

French institutions perform better than the average of the global U-Multirank sample especially in international orientation, teaching & learning and knowledge transfer.

National performance: France

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 16% 54% Research 27% 43% Knowledge Transfer 43% 49% International Orientation 8% 86% Regional Engagement 32% 43%


How much does it cost to study in France?

Higher Education Institutions are relatively free in their decision on the height of the tuition fees they charge. Given this, you will need to check with the Higher Education Institution of your choice in order to establish the individual level of tuition fees.

In France approximately 64 % of students pay fees. Tuition fees are determined on the basis of the kind of degree and subject/programme you wish to pursue as well as the private or public character of a Higher Education Institution. The average rates for tuition vary from about 170 EUR per term to 2,770 EUR per term for the licence (Bachelor) level and 3,770€ per year at the master level. You can find further information here.

Addition of information on fees and financial support

Source: Eurydice 
Reference year(s): 2020/2021


In this section we highlight the fees for studying in [insert country name]. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.

  • The amount of the annual tuition fee is fixed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The annual fee at public universities is EUR 170 in the first cycle (L1, L2, L3), and EUR 243 in the second cycle (M1, M2). Students also pay an annual contribution of EUR 92 (Contribution vie étudiante et de campusCVEC) aimed at co-financing their social, cultural and sport activities, as well as their healthcare provision.
  • In some cases, universities may charge enrolment fees which go beyond those set by the Ministry (e.g. for adult education courses and programmes, including degree-programmes, and for optional additional services).
  • Outside public universities, in the public grandes écoles and engineering schools, fees vary, but the most common amount is EUR 601 per year (not including the above-mentioned CVEC contribution). Government-dependent private higher education institutions, including some of the grandes écoles and engineering schools, set their own fees and the amounts vary widely (and are not shown in the report).
  • Fees in the short-cycle vary between EUR 0 and EUR 170.
  • From 2019/20, some international students, defined as non-EU or EEA students, pay higher fees than EU/EEA and domestic students.

Source: Eurydice - National Student Fees and Support Systems in European Higher Education – 2020/21.

Financial Support

In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in [insert country name]. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances.  How these terms are defined, are outlined below:

  • Grants are provided in the national currency and are differentiated between merit-based and need-based (or universal, where applicable). All main public financial support that does not need to be paid back is included, with the exception of grants for study abroad (i.e. mobility grants). Information is also presented on the proportion of students (in the short, first and second cycle) who receive grants.
  • Loans: information focuses on the existence of a student publicly-subsidised loan system and the percentage of students that take out a loan. Information on the interest rate and modalities for the repayment of loans may also be provided.
  • Tax benefit is any tax relief that is granted to parents whose child is a higher education student or to students themselves. The information aims to cover the amount of the tax relief, how it can be claimed and who is eligible to apply.
  • Family allowances for students' parents: this part provides information on their amount and the eligible population.
  • Grants are awarded to short-, first- and second-cycle students (under 28 years of age) on the basis of financial need. The annual amount takes into account socio-economic background of students, with students classified into eight categories based on family (parental) income. In 2020/21, the amount of the annual grant ranges from EUR 1,032 to 5,679. The most commonly awarded annual amount was EUR 1,020 in 2019/20. An additional grant (aide spécifique ponctuelle) amounting to EUR 1,707 annually is available for the most deprived (based on family income) lower middle-class students. The grant provider is the Ministry, and grants are run by the Centre Régional des Œuvres Universitaires et Scolaires (CROUS). Need-based grant holders are exempt from paying fees. In 2018/19, 34% of students received a need-based grant.
  • Short- and first-cycle 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 per year, for a maximum of three years. Specific and occasional support is also available.
  • State-guaranteed loans up to an annual maximum of EUR 15,000 are also available for all EU/EEA students aged under 28. Interest rates are defined by banks. Repayment must start two years after graduation, but early redemption of interest is possible.
  • Parents are eligible for tax benefits if students are financially dependent on them and are younger than 25 years old. The amount of tax relief is proportional to the amount of taxable income of the household. Students below 26 are also eligible for tax relief.
  • Family allowances are paid for two or more dependent children under 20 years old. The basic amount for families with two children is EUR 131.95 per month (less for high income families).

What are the entry requirements for French Universities?

As an EU/EEA/Swiss applicant, you will also supply the Higher Education Institution of your choice with your national secondary school/university entrance exam diploma. Furthermore, some Higher Education Institutions will ask you to write an essay as part of your application.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss applicants are required to submit their national secondary school/university entrance exam diploma along with copies of their visa, passport, passport-sized picture and birth certificate. Moreover, you are asked to prove that you possess enough means to support yourself for the duration of your studies.

How to get a Scholarship in France?

No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in France. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.

Do I need a Student Visa for France?

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens do not need to obtain a visa. All non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must supply documentation on the reasons for their stay, how they plan to support themselves for the duration of their stay in the country as well as their accommodation arrangements. You must be in possession of the visa at the French border. Given this, you should apply for it at the respective French embassy or the respective consulate in your country of origin or residence. You can find further information here.


How do French Universities fare in U-Multirank?

  1. The 2022 edition of U-Multirank covers 123 French higher education institutions.
  2. French institutions perform extraordinarily strong in the dimension of International Orientation, in which 86% of all indicators scores are ranked into group ‘A’ or ‘B’.
  3. 26 French institutions reached a top group position (‘A’ score) in more than ten indicators. This includes business schools and technical universities/institutions, comprehensive institutions as well as an institution specialised in the social sciences.
  4. Out of the 26 French institutions which have more than ten top group positions (‘A’ score), five even have more than 15.
  5. Among the top performing French institutions, three institutions score 18 top group positions: École Centrale de Nantes, TelecomSudParis and Touluse INP. IMT Mines Albi and the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace – SUPAERO reached 16 ‘A’ scores. They alle have top scores across all five dimensions of indicators.

Here  you can find the current French country report.

France's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

Where to study in France

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