Carefully budgeting for your university stay is important and will spare you some unpleasant surprises. Remember that, in addition to your regular, ongoing expenses there will be various settling-in costs you will need to cover on arriving in France.

Costs to anticipate when you arrive in France

The costs you will need to meet when you arrive in France are many and various and may run up to over €1,000. These include the costs associated with moving into your accommodation, university registration fees for students, insurance and transportation costs, and, if you are a third-country national, the cost of getting your visa validated.

Accommodation

  • Security deposit: this equals one month rent (excluding utility and service charges) for unfurnished accommodation and can rise up to two months' rent (excluding charges) if you are staying in halls of residence or furnished accommodations. The deposit is payable when you move in.
  • The first month rent.
  • If you are renting through an agency, you will need to pay the agent's fee and for the inventory of fixtures. Agency fees in Grenoble can be up to €10/m2, plus an additional €3/m2 for the check-in inventory of fixtures.
  • Signing up for water and electricity supply contracts (not applicable in halls of residence): allow roughly €50 to activate your electricity supply.
  • Home insurance: between €40 and €100 a year depending on the type of accommodation.

Registering for university and differentiated fee rates

Registration fees at French public universities are modest because the State covers the major part of the cost of educational programs provided in public establishments.
The fee will vary depending on : the type of program you are studying under, your faculty institute or department, your nationality and your financial situation.
 
Case 1: You are participating in an educational exchange program (such as Erasmus+) under which students are exempt from paying fees.
There will be no registration fees to pay, regardless of your nationality.
 
Case 2: You are a citizen of a European Union or European Economic Area member state or Switzerland, Andorra or Canada (only applicable to Quebec).
You will be charged the same registration fee as French students. Contact your faculty institute or department to find out the amount of the fee.
Examples (non exhaustive list):
  • €243 for one year of a Master's program
  • €601 for one year of an engineering degree
  • €1,300 for one year of the Sciences Po Grenoble program
Case 3: You are planning to enroll in a doctoral degree program
You will be charged the same registration fee as French doctoral students, regardless of your nationality.
Example: €380 for one year of a doctoral degree program
 
Case 4 : Other cases
While differentiated registration fees are payable in some cases, certain situations may give rise to an automatic exemption and in other cases a partial exemption may apply as provided for by the university concerned.
To find out if you are affected by these provisions, start by taking a look at the list of automatic exemptions on the Campus France website. If none of these apply to you, you should contact the “service de scolarité” of your faculty, institute or department to find out whether any partial exemptions apply.

Outside of these exemptions, typical registration fees are:
  • €2,770 for one year of a Bachelor's degree program (Licence)
  • €3,770 for one year of a Master's degree program
Good to know In addition to registration fees, both French and international students are required to pay the annual "Contribution de Vie Étudiante et de Campus" (CVEC - contribution to student and campus life). This helps finance initiatives intended to improve life on campus, including sports and cultural events and student initiatives.
As is the case for registration fees, exemptions may apply in many cases. Your faculty, institute or department will let you know if any of these apply to you when you enroll.
The CVEC for the 2020/2021 academic year is €91.

Residence rights of third-country (non-EEA) nationals

The validation of your visa or your application for a residence permit will require to purchase an excise stamp ("timbre fiscal").
In 2020, the cost of an excise stamp for the validation of a student visa is €50, and €200 for a "Passeport Talent" long-stay visa.
> Find out more about these costs on the FAQ section of the website of the Direction Générale des Étrangers en France (the authority dealing with foreign residents in France)  

Your regular, monthly expenses

Accommodation

Accommodation will be your main item of expenditure and may account for up to half of your monthly budget.
In addition to your rent, there may be charges for things like water, electricity and gas, typically around €50 a month.
  • Government-subsidized residence halls (CROUS accommodation): €200 to €500 a month
  • Privately-run residence halls: €250 to €800 a month
  • A studio or small flat: €400 to €500 a month
  • A room in shared accommodation: around €350 a month

Mobile phone and broadband

You can get a mobile phone plan for €2 to €30 a month and a broadband package (with TV) for around €30 a month.

Transportation costs

These will be dictated by the main type of transport you will be using (public transport, bike or car).
  • In Grenoble, a travel pass for the "TAG" transport network and the "Métrovélo" bike rental service vary in price according to age: ranging from €15 a month for the under 24s to €60 a month for the “TAG” transportation service, and from €15 to €25 a month for a “Metrovelo” bike rental.
  • In Valence, the cost of a "Citéa" bus pass and subscription to the "Libélo" bike rental service will also depend on your age, ranging from €10 to €20 a month for a Citéa pass and from €10 to €15 a month for the Libélo bike subscription service.
> More information on the Transports de l’Agglomération Grenobloise (TAG) website
> More information on the Valence Romans Déplacements website
 
Good to know
If you are on a tight budget, you may be eligible for the TAG "solidarity-based" fare system (for travel in Grenoble) or for the Citéa buses reduced fare system (for travel in Valence).
> More information about these reduced rates in the "Financial Assistance" section of this portal

Bank fees

Although it is free to open a bank account in France, you usually have to pay for services such as the use of a credit or debit card and the maintenance of a bank account.
Allow between €4 and €10 per month for these services.
Fees are charged for wire transfers from or to another country. These will vary depending on the amount transferred, the country concerned and the speed of the transfer.   

Food

Another key item of expenditure is food: allow €200 to €300 a month depending on your consumption and eating habits.
For students and doctoral students, the CROUS university restaurants offer budget-friendly meals on campus.
> Visit the CROUS website for more information on the prices charged

Healthcare

The French health insurance system is free for international students. Doctoral students and researchers earning a salary will have their health insurance contributions deducted automatically from their pay.
You should also budget for any complementary or private health insurance you are likely to require.
> For more information, please see the "Insurance" section of this portal.

Even if your medical costs are covered by your insurance, some healthcare costs are payable upfront before you get your money back.
A visit to the general practitioner costs at least €25 for example (official social security rate). If you have registered with a referring doctor ("médecin traitant"), the French health insurance system will reimburse 70% of the cost (€17.50) and the rest falls to you unless you have taken out complementary health insurance.

Leisure

You will also need to budget for things like leisure, sports, cultural and sight-seeing activities.
Note that a whole host of free cultural events for students are put on by the UGA itself.
> For more information, please take a look at the UGA's artistic and scientific culture website