I have received a few messages in my inbox and have seen several recent posts in groups from students asking about scholarships and low-fee universities in France. In this post, I’ll try to provide you with some important points and available funding opportunities to help you navigate the process.
To begin with, the Campus France website is the best place to start your search. You can start with the universities mentioned on the QS Ranking, THE Ranking, and other ranking websites for a head-start. But asking for scholarships or university names here won’t help you.
Most Bachelor’s programs in France are either taught in French or English with French. Therefore, studying for a Bachelor’s degree in France might not be feasible unless you have a good grasp of the French language. Unlike Germany, studies in France are not entirely free unless you secure a scholarship or a funded opportunity.
The tuition fees vary from university to university, and even some public universities have way higher fees. So, it’s crucial to do thorough research based on your criteria and your budget.
Fortunately, most French universities accept students with English proficiency, and IELTS is an optional document. However, if you have done IELTS, it could benefit you when applying to other European countries.
Finding your preferred program, checking their requirements, and applying for suitable scholarships are crucial when applying for studies abroad. This all requires rigorous effort, patience, consistency, and focus. Therefore, you should only apply for scholarships that are relevant to your preferred program, and that match your interests and qualifications.
When deciding on a study abroad program, consider the required documents, cost, and available resources. If you miss a program or scholarship deadline, don’t worry. You can plan accordingly for the next time, as deadlines are usually similar each year. But you need to know which programs or funding opportunities you want to target. It’s usually a good idea to target multiple countries and universities at one time to save time and effort.
Scholarships usually require a strong academic record, CV experience, a statement of purpose, and motivation. Make sure you have your documents attested and scanned in a folder on your PC and manage an Excel file where you write about programs, deadlines, and requirements. Below are some major scholarships and key requirements available. You can read more about them online and manage yourself according to their specified requirements:
1. Eiffel Scholarship (Partially Funded)
Eiffel Scholarship (Partially Funded) Most higher education institutions in France, including both public and private, provide this scholarship. The scholarship provides a monthly stipend of 1,181 euros for master’s students and 1,700 euros/per month for doctoral-level students. However, please note that the Eiffel scholarship does not cover tuition fee expenses. The scholarship is awarded for a maximum period of 36 months for master’s programs and 12 months for doctoral programs. Institutions are expected to provide students with the best possible financial support.
Please note that you cannot apply for this scholarship yourself. Your program coordinator needs to file the scholarship on your behalf with Campus France. All French higher education institutions can submit this application, even if it is not mentioned on their websites. It is a good idea to ask your university. Your program deadline may be different from the scholarship deadline, so you should consider applying for it after you receive acceptance into a program.
Key Eligibility Requirements:
• Applicants must be below 25 years of age to apply for an MS scholarship. The age limit to apply for Ph.D. programs is 30 years.
Applications start: 3rd October
Deadline: 10th January
2. HEC Pakistan Scholarship (Fully Funded)
See the list of different countries and universities included. All the public sector French universities are included in the scholarship.
Key eligibility requirements:
• Minimum 3.0 out of 4.0 CGPA
• 35 years max-age
• 70% marks in a valid HEC Aptitude Test (HAT)
• Applicants are required to submit an online application via the HEC e-portal (eportal.hec.gov.pk)
• Bond is signed to work with HEC/Pakistani University for 5 years after graduation
Deadline: 30th May
HAT exam: in June
3. Masters Excellence Scholarship (Fully Funded)
Very few eligible programs are mentioned on the Campus France website in the areas of economics, public policy, and energy mainly. You can apply for the scholarship only if you get accepted by the university first. First, apply directly to the university application portals, then after acceptance, you can apply for the scholarship.
Key eligibility requirements:
• Minimum CGPA of 3.6 out of 4.0 required
• Not above 28 years of age at the time of application
• Applicants can only apply within 2 years of completing an undergrad degree
• French language not mandatory for application
• Check required documents, a statement of purpose is a must
Applications start date: 24th January
Deadline: 2nd of April
4. France Excellence for Climate Change Master Scholarship (Fully Funded)
These programs focus on training students in sustainable development to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. The scholarship covers six different programs, including an MBA degree. Applicants must first obtain acceptance from a university before applying for the scholarship, similar to the “Masters Excellence Scholarship” mentioned above.
Key eligibility requirements:
• Minimum 3.6 out of 4.0 CGPA
• Maximum age of 28 at the time of application
• Applicants can only apply within 2 years of completing their undergraduate degree
• French language proficiency is not mandatory for the application
Application start date: January 24th
Deadline: April 2nd
5. IDEX Scholarships (Partially Funded) – (Applications OPEN) – APPLY HERE!
Here is an excellent opportunity you can avail of right now! You do not have to apply separately for this scholarship. Just apply to the university programs covered in this scholarship, and you will be considered for the IDEX scholarship. This scholarship is available at Université Paris-Saclay and Université Grenoble Alpes.
For Paris-Saclay, it is available for master’s degree programs offered by the associated institutions. The institutions affiliated with the Paris-Saclay University are AgroParisTech, CentraleSupélec, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay (ENS Paris-Saclay), INSTN-CEA, Institut d’Optique Graduate School (IOGS), Université d’Evry-Val-d’Essonne (UEVE), Université Paris-Saclay (UPSaclay), and Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ).
For international students at Paris Saclay, the scholarship provides €10,000 per year, along with travel allowances of up to €1000. You can study at one of the TOP universities in France. Both the universities, Paris-Saclay and Grenoble Alpes, are highly ranked among the 2023 QS globally ranked universities in France.
Key Eligibility Requirements:
• Must be admitted to Paris-Saclay
• Maximum age limit: 30 years old
• Must NOT have a study gap of more than 3 years
• Candidates already receiving any other scholarship or grant are ineligible
• Candidates selected for the scholarship will receive an email for their consent.
• Two recommendation letters are required
• Candidate selection deadline: May 10, 2023
• Scholarship application deadline: May 12, 2023
• Recommendation letter deadline and call closure: May 16, 2023
• Announcement of the results: End of June 2023
Université Grenoble Alpes is a top-ranked public research university. You can also apply to Grenoble Alpes or find details about their scholarships through the link provided below. The scholarship amount is €8,000 per year for M1 and €5,000 per year for M2. The scholarship deadline depends on your program deadline. Note that applicants can apply for the scholarship at the same time as their application for the master’s degree. Check the different schools and department websites as well that are associated with the IDEX scholarship for relevant programs and their deadlines.
6. Campus France – Scholarship Search Engine
If you’re looking for scholarships, Campus France Scholarship Search Engine is one of the most comprehensive tools you can use. It allows you to find scholarships offered by both universities and the state. With this search engine, you can easily check which universities are offering scholarships. However, it’s important to note that not all universities’ offers are listed in this search engine. If you’re looking for funded opportunities, it’s worth taking the time to go through all the grants listed.
Just filter by your nationality and search for grants.
I don’t have much information about the scholarships below and haven’t looked into them in detail. However, you can do your research and find out more about these funding opportunities.
1. Erasmus Mundus (Fully Funded)
Erasmus Mundus is a highly competitive scholarship program that requires a strong profile and good experience. Last year, around 150 candidates from Pakistan received this scholarship. If you’re eligible, you can apply for this fully funded opportunity that allows you to study semesters in multiple universities across Europe.
Although I’m not well-versed in its details, you can join Erasmus groups and find more information online.
2. French University Scholarships
These scholarships are partially funded and available for both Masters’s and Ph.D. programs. There are six different scholarships available. You can find more information by accessing the link below:
Accreditations/Certifications of Programs:
Accreditations are extremely important when you consider applying for or going to a university. Your university program MUST be recognized within the state. Your degree is just a piece of paper that has no worth if it does not have the required accreditations/certifications. Note that if a state-recognized certification is unavailable, you won’t be able to get a professional job or continue your studies, research, or Ph.D. after completing your studies, and will be sent back to your home country. If you’re unsure, you can simply email your program coordinator to ask if the program is RNCP certified. It could be one or more, but having one is mandatory for a PSW (Post Study Work) Visa.
The following certifications are required (at least one):
• RNCP Certification
• CGE Certification (Conférence des Grandes Ecoles)
• Grande Ecole
Additional engineering university certifications:
• CTI Certification (Commission des titres d’ingénieur)
• EUR-ACE label (if the university has CTI certification, that means you have EUR-ACE)
• The label “Master of Science,” “Badge,” and “CQC” are from CGE
Additional business/management school accreditations:
Question: What are Grandes écoles, and how do they differ from universities?
Grandes écoles, both public and private, typically offer only professional education, while universities offer higher education in the arts, sciences, and some professional fields.
The Grandes écoles are not part of the rest of the university system. They are smaller and have much more money, receiving 30% of the national university budget with only 4% of the students. They are kept apart from the rest of the educational system based on fierce competition among students and schools.
Grandes écoles are oriented towards the labor market, and their graduates generally have little difficulty finding jobs. However, these programs lack on the research side. While these specialized programs may be better for the job market, they are not ideal for those interested in research or doctoral studies.
For more information, please see the following sources:
I hope this information will help you start your search for university programs and funding opportunities in France. That’s all for now. Good luck with your applications. If you have any suggestions or questions, or notice any misquotes, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!