A lot of students aspire to attend a French university because of its rich culture, history, cuisine, and iconic landmarks.
It goes without saying that living in France is expensive. Paris, the country’s capital has been named the most expensive city in the European Union, beating other strong contenders such as Geneva and Reykjavik in Iceland. Living costs are also increasing in all areas, including groceries and transportation, which essentially would make navigating student life even more difficult as the country already faces a number of expenses that are constantly rising due to inflation. Adding inflationary increases in living expenses would only exacerbate this burden on students.
Fortunately, there are tuition-free or low-cost universities in France that either charge low fees or do not charge students fees at all, and the best part is that it is also open to international students.
Here are some affordable and tuition-free universities in France that international students can consider:
Sorbonne University, located in Paris, is a top public institution in France with a reputation for being one of Europe’s most prestigious universities, attracting over 9,000 international students. There are three faculties at the university: arts and humanities, science and engineering, and medicine.
Tuition fees are typically not charged in French public universities, and Sorbonne University is no exception. This is the case for both domestic and international students. However, the university does charge registration fees: 170 euros for a bachelor’s degree, 243 euros for a master’s degree, and 380 euros for a doctorate (doctorate degree).
Le Mans University
Le Mans University is a small public university in the western region of France. Despite having only 10,800 domestic and international students, it is well-known for its excellent teaching and academic value. The majority of undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and professional programs are taught in French.
In general, international students at Le Mans University pay an annual admission fee of 170 euros. Depending on the program, you may be required to pay a variety of additional fees.
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Students in France have the option of touring the country to see famous landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral.
University of Clermont Auvergne
In France, the University of Clermont Auvergne is a globally oriented institution that develops educational programs for global citizens. It has entered into a number of international agreements with corresponding universities, allowing thousands of students from all over the world to visit its campus as part of an exchange or similar program.
Following the pandemic, the university’s board of directors granted non-EU students the same fee status as EU and local students. This means that only Master’s, Medical, and Engineering students must pay more than 170 euros per year.
National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations
One of the few public universities in France focused on teaching languages and cultures from around the world is the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations. Graduate and undergraduate programs here are primarily humanities-based, with a focus on social studies, much like the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
It has minimal fees for international students, similar to other universities on this list. Standard rates typically begin at 170 euros per year and increase based on the program selected.
University of Orléans
About an hour and forty minutes outside of Paris is where you’ll find the University of Orleans, which has three colleges (known as Training and Research Units), a school of Engineering, four university institutes of technology, a National Institute of Higher Education, a university science of the universe observatory, a school of physiotherapy, and a department for medical training, it is inherently multidisciplinary.
Over 1,165 teachers and 19,026 students have attended the institution and this number is steadily rising. Students also only need to pay 170 euros a year, with the cost increases based on the program they choose.