French university costs of more than €7,000 a year challenge meritocracy

A new study by a French research institute found that many parents struggle to support their children in higher education.

French university costs of more than €7,000 a year challenge meritocracy
French university students. Photo: Gerard Julien AFP.

A survey of more than 500 parents conducted by French research institute CSA Research found that the average costs for a university student in France exceed €7,000 per year. 

The costs are even higher for students who choose a specialization in commerce or engineering, sometimes rising to above €10,000 per year. 

One in two families is forced to make substantial sacrifices to support their children in higher education, reports French daily Le Monde – according to Céline Francois, marketing director of Crédit Cofidis, which commissioned the study. 

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Students who opt for universities in Paris will encounter costs one third higher than anywhere else in France, primarily because the average accommodation expenditure for Paris students is above €4,000. The average in regions outside the capital is €1,320. 

Households with an average income below €4,500 are often forced to take loans to cover the costs, adds the study. More than 50 per cent of families with an income lower than €4,500 receive accommodation and hardship benefits, however, amounting to €1,736 per year. 

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