In France, almost 300,000 students come from all over the world to pursue higher studies because of the long set high quality and living standard. But, due to the same reasons, tuition fees and accommodation can take up a large sum of money yearly to continue studying. French universities with relatively high popularity can cost well over 10,000 euros, which can be very difficult to bear for the majority of international students.

Fortunately, there are some ways you can cut down your costs and living expenses to zero, by getting ready and applying at the right places. To study in France for free, a mixture of university choice, background results, and scholarship application is needed. Here are some of the best ways you can study in France for free, and all of them are pursuable for international students.

How to Study in France for Free

1. Be a great applicant with stellar scores

Universities almost always choose the best applicants among thousands of others. To stand out among them and to study in France for free, having a solid preparation and a flawless application is essential. A great practice is to prepare your application early and then update it as many times as needed. By doing so, the application becomes mature and gives you a framework for your yearly progress.

Your GPA and test scores are the most essential for selection, as they are the first criteria authorities seek. You have to study hard and have a great result, there are no alternatives. Apart from these, a fresh recommendation letter from respected personnel in your field goes a long way in achieving the dream. Getting recommended by pioneers works as a voucher that makes the application shine brighter.

2. Receive Scholarships in France

The best way to study in France for free is by having a proper scholarship in your desired institution. Numerous scholarships are provided from both universities and the French government. Having a clear understanding of the current scholarships and their requirements will let you choose the perfect criteria you fit in. Find more common scholarships and apply for them, which will significantly decrease your study and living expenses. Keep yourself updated as the scholarship opportunities shift and change regularly.

3. Attend Cheap Universities in France for international students

Choosing an affordable university, to begin with, ensures the tuition fees will be much lower. Added with a proper scholarship, the cost of study can be canceled completely. The average tuition fee can change drastically for non-EEA (European Economic Area) residents and international students. Tuition fees for EEA citizens are up to 650 euros. International students are often required to pay higher expenses, which can go up to 4,000 euros on average.

Check Also: Available Programs in Europe for International Students

Study Bachelors in France for Free

Pursuing undergraduate study opportunities in French universities may lead to a hefty tuition fee range. There are very few universities that offer free studentships and excellent scholarship opportunities so that undergraduate students can study in France for free. Here are the best choices:

The Emile Boutmy Scholarships at Paris Institute of Political Studies or Sciences Po university offers some of the most generous scholarships in the country, and a fair share of undergraduate scholarships too. It provides scholarships for both bachelor’s and master’s students. At the undergraduate level, it provides a 7,300 euro grant every year for 3 consecutive years of studying for a bachelor’s degree. Another 5,000 euros are given for accommodation costs.

Chalhoub Scholarship is another candidate which is also provided by the Sciences Po University, and although it offers even more financial grants, it is offered to select 13 countries in the middle east only. However, the grant amounts to a whopping 12,300 euros every year for 3 years of duration. It covers the full tuition fee and partial living expenses. Another requirement is, students with this scholarship must have to study a master’s level in Sciences Po.

Another extremely sought scholarship is Stephen M. Kellen Undergraduate Funding which is also provided by Sciences Po University. The M. Kellen scholarship is offered both in France and Germany for international students. It provides up to 6,000 USD every year, and also covers 100% tuition fees and partial living allowances.

Study Master’s in France for Free

Among the numerous scholarship opportunities in France, the highest number of them are given to master’s students. These are some of the most sought-after scholarships for studying Master’s in France for free:

The ENS International Selection Scholarships are some of the most generous scholarship programs given in France, and the competition to achieve this is high too. Provided by École Normale Supérieure (ENS) university, a total of 20 students (10 for science students only) under the age of 25 can be selected every year. International students under 10 months of staying in France are eligible for this. The payoff is high, as ENS provides 1,000 euros per month for 3 years. Besides this, each student gets a room in the ENS campuses, along with complete tuition fees covered. Students are selected by their previous study reports and excellence criteria.

Provided by ENS de Lyon, the Ampère Excellence Scholarships for International Students is also a great choice for master’e. It also provides a monthly amount of 1,000 euros. Each year, the scholarship has to be renewed. Master’s students within science, arts, humanities, and social science divisions can get this scholarship. The only exception is FEADép Master’s program, as they have another dedicated scholarship opportunity.

Another renowned one, the Emile Boutmy Scholarships is given by the Paris Institute of Political Studies alongside its undergraduate scholarship programs and grants a yearly amount of 10,000 euro for 2 years for master’s students. In addition to this, another 5,000 euro is provided for the cost of living.

Université Paris-Saclay International Master’s Scholarships are provided by the University of Paris-Saclay. The international master’s scholarship is given for 1 to 2 years of students pursuing a master’s degree. Like the Emile Boutmy scholarship, it also offers a generous amount of 10,000 euros per year with additional 1,000 euro for traveling.

Unlike the other scholarships, the Grenoble Institute of Technology Foundation Scholarships provides payments each semester. For master’s students, it offers up to 5,000 euros per semester. But the duration is a bit lower, up to 2 semesters.

Study Ph.D. in France for Free

For research scopes, students from around the world apply to French universities, and many of them offer full free scholarships. Here are some scholarships to look for when studying Ph.D. in France.

ESSEC Business School provides one of the best Ph.D. scholarships to study PhD for free in France, named the ESSEC Ph.D. Program. The duration is for 4 years continuously and can be offered extended financial supports at the 5th year judging by the student performance. The scholarship includes a yearly 23,000 euros for living and study. Also, there are internship packages abroad, external doctoral courses budgets, conference budget for papers submitted, and even the possibility to have an associate lecturer contract in the 5th year of study.

Known as the business school for the world, INSEAD offers a very generous Ph.D. scholarship that offers full financial support and tuition fee coverage. INSEAD Ph.D. in Management features a 100% tuition fee waiver, and up to 60,000 euros for the first 2 years, which is one of the biggest amounts provided in the country. In addition to that, it also offers 5,000 euros for annual dissertation fees from 3rd to 5th year and provides coverage for health insurance too.

The TSM Doctoral program is brought by the Toulouse School of Management (TSM). It offers up to 21,000 euros for doctoral students. Besides this amount, there are additional funding provided for travel and living, and also up to 3 academic conference coverage per year. TSM also provides a dedicated workspace and a personal laptop for the benefit of research works. Both are very important to run a research work, and this scholarship is a perfect boost for aspiring researchers.


We hope that this article on studying for free in France was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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