Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Sources:MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
MENESR-DEPP
National Family Allowance Fund
DGFiP
OECD.

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

Grants based on social criteria (BCS): granted according to the family's resources and expenses. These grants go from simple exemption of tuition fees and student social security (scale 0) to allocation of an annual financial sum of €5,500 (scale 7).

Merit aid: since 2008-09, this has replaced university grants and merit grants. It is an additional grant for students receiving a social grant who have been accepted for higher education after obtaining distinction in their school Baccalaureate and accepted for Masters degrees after achieving the best Bachelor's degree results. The amount is €900 for 2015 secondary school leavers and €1,800 for secondary school leavers in previous sessions.

Specific support (formerly FNAU, National Emergency Aid Fund): This is either an annual allowance aimed at solving specific long-term situations that do not qualify for a social grant, or one-off support to respond quickly to serious temporary difficulties.

Proportion of students aided: this relates to students enrolled in university in a course that is eligible for grants (mainly national diplomas leading to a Bachelor's or Master's degree and until the 6th year of health and medical studies), STS, CPGE, engineering schools under the authority of the MENESR and State-recognised business schools.

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03 social support for students

This page has been updated. Read 03. social support for students in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

During 2014-2015, nearly 680,000 students received at least one form of financial aid, i.e. around 36% of the population concerned. Financial and social support for students reached nearly 6 billion euros in 2014, 60% of which was direct aid from the State.

During 2014-2015, around 680,000 students received at least one form of financial aid (table 03.01a and table 03.01b). The proportion of students aided was stable compared to the previous year. Over one-third of students (35.8%) enrolled on a course eligible for a support (see opposite) were assisted, which is much higher than the proportion recorded in 2000-01 (28.6%). Several times, the income ceilings for allocating a social support were raised, to increase the number of beneficiaries, and different scales were created in 1999, 2008 and 2013. In autumn 2014, the income ceilings were changed. Consequently, the number of students receiving financial aid of €1,007 (scale 0bis) increased from around 54,000 to 152,000, while the number of students exempted from tuition fees fell drastically. The number of students receiving social support, which now represents 97% of students aided, rose by 2.5% in 2014, while the number of students receiving specific support (one-off or annual) decreased. The proportion of students receiving support was stable in universities (34.7% and classes preparing for admission to Grandes Ecoles (CPGE) (27.7%). It increased significantly in Advanced technician's sections (STS) (47.5%), where this proportion was the highest (chart 03.02).

These data do not however cover the whole scope of direct and indirect financial, social and fiscal support that students can receive.

In addition to scholarships, loans and grants (including emergency aid) paid by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, in 2014 direct support included social housing benefit (ALS) and Personalised housing benefit (APL) paid by the National Allowance Fund (CNAF), to which various tax benefits were added (tax reduction for dependent student, granting of an additional half-share allowance when the student is attached to the parents' tax household). Indirect support is also available. This includes social support from the French Regional Student Services Agency (CROUS), support for associations, exemption from payment of tuition fees for grant-holders, university medical and social staff and from the charge levied due to the deficit in the student social security system.

In 2014, the total amount of student support was around 6 billion euros (€bn) compared to €3.5bn in 1995 and 2005 (when it was 51% and 55% respectively). Suports and loans represent the largest expense, at around €2bn in 2014 (33% of the total).

International comparisons in student support published by the OECD only show grants and loans paid by the State, which for France is around €2bn. Housing benefit (ALS and APL) and tax benefits, which represented €2.9bn in France in 2014, are not taken into account in the OECD indicators.

The amount taken into account in international comparisons therefore under-estimates the total amount of support received by students in France. If this support were included under the heading of public support in the same way as grants, then the share of State support would rise from 8.0% to 19.7% (2011 data) of public spending on higher education (chart 03.04).

&

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

How to cite this paper :

ALGAVA Elisabeth, LANDREAU Aline. Social support for students. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 50 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2016. 9th ed. Chapter 03 [Accessed 08/21/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-151572-7. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/9EN/EESR9EN_ES_03-social_support_for_students.php

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Grants based on social criteria (BCS): granted according to the family's resources and expenses. These grants go from simple exemption of tuition fees and student social security (scale 0) to allocation of an annual financial sum of €5,500 (scale 7).

Merit aid: since 2008-09, this has replaced university grants and merit grants. It is an additional grant for students receiving a social grant who have been accepted for higher education after obtaining distinction in their school Baccalaureate and accepted for Masters degrees after achieving the best Bachelor's degree results. The amount is €900 for 2015 secondary school leavers and €1,800 for secondary school leavers in previous sessions.

Specific support (formerly FNAU, National Emergency Aid Fund): This is either an annual allowance aimed at solving specific long-term situations that do not qualify for a social grant, or one-off support to respond quickly to serious temporary difficulties.

Proportion of students aided: this relates to students enrolled in university in a course that is eligible for grants (mainly national diplomas leading to a Bachelor's or Master's degree and until the 6th year of health and medical studies), STS, CPGE, engineering schools under the authority of the MENESR and State-recognised business schools.

 

Key figures


Number of students receiving at least one form of support
678,615
 students receiving support
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "03. social support for students".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of grant-holders based on social criteria
655,858
 grant-holders according to social criteria
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "03. social support for students".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Amount of financial and social support for students
5,965 M
 
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "03. social support for students".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP, DGFiP, National Family Allowance Fund
Share of university students receiving support
34.7%
 
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "03. social support for students".

Coverage: students enrolled in courses for which a grant is available
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of students in Advanced technician's sections (STS) receiving support
47.5%
 
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "03. social support for students".

Coverage: students enrolled in courses for which a grant is available
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of students in classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles (CPGE) receiving support
27.7%
 
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "03. social support for students".

Coverage: students enrolled in courses for which a grant is available
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

03.01a Trend in the number of students receiving direct financial support - by type of support

 
2000-01 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Social grants 452,616 496,427 475,856 471,034 524,618 565,798 593,057 620,213 629,035 639,884 655,858
including merit aid 11,304 20,815 23,344 25,332 26,617 30,821 33,898
University criteria grants 14,539 12,529 12,636 11,869 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Merit grants 497 842 1,361 1,368 981 728 549 273 80 14 0
National emergency fund (one-off) 19,640 53,829 65,491 36,181 35,611 34,542 30,867
National emergency fund (annual) 6540 7,521 7,508 5,822 5,636 5,413 5,326
Study allowances 8,090 10,461 10,468 9,589 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Student loans 2,858 1,983 1,524 1,348 653 0 0 0 0 0 0
Number of students receiving at least one type of support 478,600 522,242 501,845 495,208 551,132 626,382 665,114 647,101 654,772 664,675 678,615
of % students concerned 28.6 30.2 29.4 29.3 32.7 35.8 37.5 36.1 36.0 35.7 35.8
Average amount received by a social criteria grant-holder (in euros) 2,320 2,501 2,585 2,654 2,605 2,500 2,569 2,666 2,701 2,800 2,862
 

1 It is possible to combine several types of support. Thus in 2014-15, 12,500 students received a social grant and specific, one-off support. However, it is not possible to combine a social grant and a specific annual allowance.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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03.01b Trend in the number of students receiving direct financial support - by type of course 1

 
2000-01 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
University 335,187 369,365 357,847 350,994 375,595 407,445 2 441,304 460,261 465,690 474,558 484,239
% of students concerned 26.6 28.8 28.4 28.4 31.0 32.5 33.8 35.0 35.1 34.8 34.7
CPGE 12,361 13,685 13,490 14,185 17,125 19,813 20,016 20,916 21,984 22,375 22,341
% of students concerned 17.1 19.0 17.6 18.6 21.9 25.0 25.7 26.9 27.7 27.9 27.7
STS 85,628 87,240 81,898 81,245 87,366 91,036 94,771 99,342 100,000 101,334 106,644
% of students concerned 42.4 42.8 40.4 39.6 42.0 42.6 44.1 46.3 45.2 45.3 47.5
 

1 Social grants, university grants and merit grants.
2 In 2008 and 2009, students enrolled in IUFM (teacher training institutes) within a host university were not counted. There were 13,422 students receiving grants in IUFM within universities in 2009-10.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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03.02 Trend in the proportion of students receiving grants by branch of study (%)

  
Universities  1
STS
CPGE
 
 

1 In 2009, students enrolled in IUFM (teacher training institutes) within a host university were not counted. There were 13,422 students receiving grants in IUFM within universities in 2009-10.

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03.03 Support for students (in €M, %)

 
1995 2005 2014 Structure 2014 (%) Change 2014/1995 (%)
in current € in constant €
Central government budget aid [a] 2,062.4 2,893.8 4,003.9 67.1 94.1 +49.7
Direct support 1,787.8 2,521.1 3,547.9 59.5 98.4 +53.0
Grants and loans (programme 231 action 1) 927.7 1,332.6 1,969.4 33.0 112.3 +63.7
Merit aid (programme 231 action 1) 1 53.3 0.9
Social housing benefit (ALS) 672.6 995.7 1,293.0 21.7 92.2 +48.3
Personal housing benefit (APL) - Share from central government 187.5 181.4 232.1 3.9 23.8 -4.5
Transport assistance - share from central government 2 11.4
Indirect support 274.6 372.7 456.0 7.6 66.1 +28.1
University support services 253.4 302.3 323.2 5.4 27.5 -1.6
Support for associations and university medical staff 12.8 22.6 25.9 0.4 102.5 +56.2
Compensation for tuition fee exemption by student grant-holders 3 8.4 47.8 106.9 1.8 1,172.2 +881.1
Fiscal support from central government 3 [b] 1,067.1 1,235.0 1,422.0 23.8 33.3 +2.8
IIncrease in family quotient for children/students attached to parents' tax household 4 942.1 1,075.0 1,217.0 20.4 29.2 -0.4
Tax reduction for tuition fees for children in higher education 4 125.0 160.0 205.0 3.4 64.0 +26.5
Total central government support [a+b] 3,129.5 4,128.8 5,425.9 91.0 73.4 +33.7
Payments by social security systems [c]
Contribution by different systems to funding student social security 375.1 426.1 522.9 8.8 39.4 +7.5
Payments by universities [d]
Solidarity and development fund for student initiatives 4 6.1 12.2 16.2 0.3 166.2 +105.3
Total other support [c +d] 381.2 438.3 539.2 9.0 41.4 +9.1
Total overall [a+b+c+d] 3,510.7 4,567.1 5,965.0 100.0 69.9 +31.0
 

1 Merit aid was introduced in 2008.
2 The transport supplement for Ile-de-France students receiving aid was stopped in autumn 2011.
3 Within universities and engineering schools.
4 2013 data.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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03.04 Public support (loans and grants) for higher education as a % of public expenditure on higher education in 2011 (%)

AU
 
JP
US
SE
IT
 
FR 1
 
GB
DK
NL
ES
BE
 
  
Grants
Loans
 
 

On average in the OECD countries, public support (loans and grants) represents 19.6% of public expenditure on higher education.
1 For France, if housing and tax benefits were included, the share of central government aid would rise to 19.7% in 2011.

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Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
03 - social support for students - Elisabeth Algava & Aline Landreau
During 2015-16, 711,000 students received at least one form of financial aid, i.e. around 36% of the population concerned. Financial and social support for students reached nearly 6.1 billion euros in 2015, 61% of which was direct aid from the State [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
03 - social support for students - Laurence Dauphin & Aline Landreau
At the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, the number of students receiving support stood at more than 660,000, or approximately 35% of students enrolled for a course for which a grant was available. In all, the amount of financial and social support provided came to almost €6 billion in 2013, compared with €3.5 bn in 1995 [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°9 - Juin 2016
03 - l’aide sociale aux étudiants - Elisabeth Algava & Aline Landreau
Durant l’année 2014-15, presque 680 000 étudiants ont perçu au moins une aide, soit environ 36 % de la population concernée. L'aide financière et sociale en leur faveur atteint quasiment 6 milliards d'euros en 2014, 60 % provenant d’aides directes de l’État [Consult the following page in french]


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