Student living costs in France hit “historic” highs

17 Aug 2023

The cost of student living is hitting new highs in France, with more than 10% increases year-on-year in rent, utility bills and food, as per fresh data from student unions.

Rising living costs are leading to “major student precarity” throughout France and deterring students from applying to universities in the country, said student union UNEF’s Secretary General, Hania Hamidi, on Tuesday.

The largest cost hikes are related to daily expenditures, with rent rising 9% to an average of €534, according to a report out on Wednesday by the FAGE student union. Other increasing costs include a 19% rise in telephone and internet, 15% in food and 7% in transport, Euractiv reports.

FAGE revealed inflationary pressures are due to a hike in day-to-day spending by around 8.9% on average for the next year. This means the first month of the new university term will cost every new student €3,024.

This is a “historic” rise, according to FAGE spokesperson Félix Sosso on RTL radio on Wednesday, €500 more than in 2022. Data from UNEF reveals a similar rise of €595. 

These figures are leading an increasing number of students into “forced employment”, Sosso added. “Beyond a 16-hour work week, students are twice as likely to fail their bachelor’s degree.”

Back in March, the government unveiled funding of €500 million for the new university year to increase scholarship amounts and widen the eligibility criteria in a bid to ease the worst inflationary effects, said the minister for Higher Education and Research, Sylvie Retailleau.

Furthermore, a “structural reform” of scholarships is also in the pipeline, the access to which is currently defined by parents’ financial situation.