As you learned in your textbook, university studies are free in France, financed by the state. Students must pay a minimal droit d’inscription (registration fee), around 100-150 euros*. They must also finance their books and supplies, as well as lodging and meals. At registration, students receive their carte d’étudiant, which allows them access to all university services. The university organization called the CROUS (Centre régional des œuvres universitaires et scolaires) runs the restaurant universitaire, known as the Restau-U. Students show their carte d’étudiant to obtain a meal ticket. A typical meal, including a hors-d’œuvre, a plat chaud (hot meal) and cheese or a dessert, costs an economical 2.40 euros. The CROUS also organizes some unique thematic establishments: a renovated RATP bus, called the Croustine, serves sandwiches 24 hours a day near some of the university residences.
Lodging can be expensive for students, especially those in urban areas. One of the most economical places to live is a room in a résidence universitaire. In Paris, many résidences are located at the Cité internationale, which is similar to an American campus with dorms, gyms, computer rooms with Internet access, laundromats, etc. A room in a résidence costs from 200 to 400 euros month. The number of available rooms is limited, and students are selected on the basis of economic need (with priority given to students who have received bourses, or grants), as well as geographical location and academic results. Students can also choose to live in apartments, rent a room in a private home, or in a foyer d’étudiants, which is a housing facility much like the résidence except that it is run by a private organization rather than the university system. A room at a foyer d’étudiant costs between 250 and 500 euros a month.
* In June 2002, $.98 = 1.00 euro.
Combien coûtent les études universitaires dans votre pays normalement? Comparez les frais (costs) d’une année universitaire dans votre pays et en France.