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Studying in France: what scholarships are you entitled to?

For young exiles, studying in France can be expensive. The lack of resources can hinder their academic career, and even threaten their graduation. To help them on a daily basis, there are scholarships, issued according to their status. InfoMigrants takes stock.

A few minutes before the announcement of the baccalaureate results, Jonathan was anxious. Even though the high school student educated in Brittany had obtained, a month earlier, a favorable opinion on his 25 wishes on the Parcoursup platform. Without any real surprise, he finally won the mention “very good” for his diploma in Engineering Sciences and Techniques and Sustainable Development (STI2D), and very good marks in philosophy, 17/20, and in the oral examination, 20/ 20.

An exemplary career for this young man from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who arrived in France in 2019 only, who had not been educated in college. His results even earned him, a few days ago, to receive with great fanfare the medal of the Academy of Rennes.

However, Jonathan’s future is threatened. Having come of age this year, the bachelor is still awaiting the issuance of a residence permit by the prefecture. Without this precious sesame, it is much more difficult for him to obtain the aid he needs to finance his studies at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Lyon.

But some scholarships remain accessible. If you are a student and, like the young Congolese, you need funds to continue your studies, here are the funds you can claim depending on your status.

1/ The scholarship based on social criteria

Profiles concerned: refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, persons with a residence permit, and Ukrainian refugees (of Ukrainian nationality) granted temporary protection.

Children of refugees who arrived in France through the family reunification process are not eligible for this scholarship.

>> To (re) read: France: exorbitant tuition fees that risk excluding many foreign students

Issued by the regional centers for university and school works (Crous), the scholarship based on social criteria is “granted to students facing material difficulties that do not allow them to undertake or pursue higher education. It constitutes additional aid to that of the family”, explains the ministry.

It is awarded to any foreign student under the age of 28, whose tax household has been domiciled in France for at least two years.

To apply for it, you must create your Student Social File (DSE) on the portal from January 15 to May 15 of the final year, for a return to an educational establishment. higher in September/October. You can also do it on this site of the Ministry of Higher Education, if you do not come directly from high school. You can, at the same time, make a request for accommodation in a student hall of residence.

It is the addition of your school certificate, issued by the establishment where you are going to study, which will trigger the first payment. It is not up to you to do so: this certificate is automatically sent to the Crous by your registration institution.

Your rights, in the event of a positive response:

– The payment, at the beginning of each month, of a scholarship in the amount fixed by level

– Exemption from university registration fees

– Exemption from the Contribution de Vie Étudiante et de Campus (CVEC), a kind of tax levied annually by the Crous. It amounts to 95 euros for the academic year 2022/2023

– Priority in the allocation of student accommodation from the Crous de Paris

– The meal at 1 euro in the university restaurants of the Crous

In exchange, you too must respect certain obligations. For example, you must be diligent in classes, practical or directed work and compulsory internships, hand in homework, and take exams.

Namely, training institutions carry out an attendance check every semester. They then send the lists of non-regular students to the Crous, which may decide to suspend the payment of the grant and/or ask you for a refund. If you ever have to be absent from class or an assessment, you must provide proof of your absence to the competent office of your establishment.

>> To (re)read: Initiatives to help exiles continue their studies

To supplement your finances, you can absolutely have a job in parallel with your studies or during the holidays. On the other hand, you will have to remain assiduous in the courses and not register with the Pôle Emploi.

Note that Crous scholarships are retroactive. If, for example, you apply for this aid three months after the start of the academic year, the three months preceding your application will be paid to you. You can, in total, use up to 7 scholarship rights during your higher education. The license course as well as any other course lasting less than or equal to BAC+3 cannot give rise to more than 5 scholarship rights.

Little more : if you have obtained the mention “very good” in the baccalaureate, you can receive, in addition to your scholarship on social criteria, a merit aid. This will be assigned to you after you have completed your DSE. The final decision to award merit-based aid is taken by the rector of the host academy. It will then be notified to you, and paid in nine monthly installments of 100 euros.

2/The annual allowance

Profiles concerned: people under the age of 35 who are eligible for the scholarship on social criteria, but who are in an even more precarious situation due to their isolation: the student no longer benefits from the material support of his parents, is in a broken family, or is raised by a family member (aunt, uncle, grandparents). “This situation of isolation must be attested by a social evaluation”, it is specified. The annual stipend offers higher payout amounts than the scholarship.

For students with a disability recognized by the Commission for the Rights and Autonomy of Persons with Disabilities, there is no age limit.

To benefit from the annual allowance, you must also make your request via the student social file (DSE), where you will explain your particular situation. A commission will decide whether or not you are eligible.

Your rights, in the event of a positive response:

– The annual allowance will then be paid to you from September to June, in 10 monthly installments. Its amount corresponds to the levels of scholarships based on social criteria.

– Exemption from university registration fees

– Exemption from the Contribution de Vie Étudiante et de Campus (CVEC)

Your duties? The same as those required by the scholarship on social criteria, in particular attendance.

A new annual allowance may be awarded the following year under the same conditions and within the limit of the total number of rights provided for higher education scholarships based on social criteria.

Attention : The specific annual aid cannot be combined with a grant based on social criteria. On the other hand, it can be combined with aid for international mobility, one-off aid and aid based on merit.

3/ Occasional help

One-off emergency aid “makes it possible to take into account new, unpredictable situations that arise during the academic year, explains the website of the Ministry of Higher Education. These situations, by their gravity, require that aid punctual is provided to allow the student to continue his studies”. They are, like the annual allowance, certified by a social assessment.

Profiles concerned: all foreign students. Refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, people with a residence permit, asylum seekers or undocumented students.

To benefit from this emergency grant, you must directly contact the Crous social service on which your establishment depends. You will not be able to start the process online.

Once your file has been compiled, a committee meets to examine your request, which has been sent to it anonymously. If necessary, a preliminary interview can take place with a Crous social worker. It allows you to assess your overall situation, particularly with regard to your university career and the difficulties you are encountering.

For Rudi Osman, founder of the Union of Exiled Students, this procedure is not the most suitable for the students concerned. “When you have big money problems, it’s hard to talk openly about it with someone who doesn’t know you or your story. And proving your motivation can be just as difficult,” he adds. The daily life of an undocumented student is exhausting, so sometimes there is a lack of energy, which can justly be translated as a lack of motivation”.

Documents attesting to your expenses may also be requested.

Here again, says Rudi Osman, “thehe procedure is disconnected from the reality experienced every day by the exiles. Many undocumented students who pay their rent informally do not have receipts. To feed themselves, these people – like many asylum seekers – go to the Restos du Coeur, or benefit from donations from associations and individuals. How then do you prove this to the Commission?”

After reviewing the file, the Commission issues a notice of grant or refusal to grant aid and proposes an amount to the director of Crous, who decides on the final amount of aid.

This will be paid in one go. The maximum amount of one-off aid corresponds to the annual amount of level 2 grants based on social criteria, ie 2,597 euros paid over ten months. If several one-off aids are granted during the same academic year, their cumulative amount cannot exceed 5,194 euros.

4/ The Fondation de France grant

This scholarship is awarded as part of the free “Déclics Jeunes” competition, organized each year by the Foundation. For the 2022 edition, registrations for the competition were open from December 1, 2021 to February 02, 2022.

Profiles concerned : all foreign students, whatever their status. They must be over the age of 18 and under 30, reside in France and demonstrate a good knowledge of the French language. Above all, this aid is intended for those who “wish to carry out an original project in the service of a cause of general interest”.

To participate, candidates must connect to the Fondation de France grant application platform in order to complete an application file. You must explain in detail your project, in line with your studies, and add two signed letters of recommendation. These projects must be related to the fields of ecology, solidarity or digital transition. “Particular attention will be paid to candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds or with a difficult life course”, specifies the Fondation de France.

The decision is then submitted to a Selection Committee which designates 20 winners, notified by e-mail.

This year, Armel won this scholarship. His digital project – the Ivorian student now has more than 250,000 subscribers on Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram – convinced the Fondation de France, which paid him 1,700 euros. A welcome help for the young exile, who was able to buy a computer to develop his young career as a comedian on social networks. “This money, he says, also helped me pay my rent and buy food.”

Useful contact:

You can call 0 806 000 278, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An adviser will inform you about the support or assistance that can be provided to you and how to request it from your CROUS.

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