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Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have a Residence Permit, can I study at a university in France?

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The answer is very simple: YES
Nevertheless, it must be understood that there are two types of training at the university:

  • The so-called “general” or “initial” training courses to which you have access. If someone from the university refuses you access to a general education course on the pretext that you do not have a Residence Permit, please let the foreign student support group in your town (or, failing that, a student union in your university) know. These practices are illegal. (See circular 2002 Gisti, reply Pécresse à un député, article LCI October 2017 “Contacted by LCI, the Ministry of Higher Education confirms that universities are obliged to register international students without checking the legality of their stay.
  • The training said “pro” or more exactly “work-study”: These are typically the Licences Pro., and some master(s).
    (note that the term “Master Pro” no longer exists! and it is the word “alternance” that is important here).
    Most of them only admit apprentices or students on a professionalization contract. So an employment contract is required. And therefore a work permit. There are, however, a few work-linked training courses that admit students in initial training. For more information, contact the foreign student support group in your city.

Attention: it is not possible for asylum seekers to work unless the asylum application has been filed for more than 6 months. In any case, an application for a PTA (temporary work permit) must be made. On :

You are allowed to enrol in any type of vocational training if it is unpaid. Please note that before the 9-month period following the registration of your application, you will be doing observation courses instead. Qualifying training is only possible after the nine-month period and with the authorisation of the Regional Directorate of Enterprises, Competition, Labour and Employment (DIRECCTE)”. (the deadline was shortened following the nth reform).

How much will it cost me to study in France?

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Several levels in the education budget need to be decoupled:

  • The cost of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and the functioning of the university (Libraries, Health Services, Cultural Services, etc.).
    This varies from year to year, today (in 2019/2020) it takes about 170 euros per year for a bachelor’s degree / 243 euros per year for a master’s degree / 350 euros per year for a doctorate for what are called “national rights”.
    ATTENTION from now on there are extra-community student fees for which some universities derogate by proposing a total or partial exemption from fees (as in Grenoble for the moment).
    These are very high: 2770 euros per year for a Bachelor’s degree / 3770 euros per year for a Master’s degree / 3770 euros per year for a PhD.
    More information :
    Décret 2019-344 du 19 avril 2019 relatif aux modalités d’exonération des droits d’inscription des étudiants étrangers suivant une formation dans les établissements publics d’enseignement supérieur relevant du Ministre chargé de l’enseignement supérieur. 
    For exemption, a request must be made.
  • The price of student accommodation at the CROUS (if you are eligible, i.e. there are conditions to be met) or private accommodation (this varies depending on the region of France, the neighbourhood and the type of accommodation).
  • Functioning of everyday life: transport, food, electricity, insurance, mutual health insurance, surety(ies)

I can’t find a collective in my town, what can I do?

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If you don’t find a collective in your city on our site, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.
It may mean that we don’t know about them yet.
Unfortunately it will be difficult for us to help you in these cases.
Nevertheless, you can always try to contact student unions such as CNT, Solidaires Étudiants.e.s, UNEF, and others at your university.
These three unions are often represented in French universities and will probably be allies for your further study.
Do not hesitate to go and see all three if they are present.
Or contact the RESF in your city which can provide a link.

What is the “systemic racism” or “structural violence” that you denounce?

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Anti-migration policies that generate suspicion towards foreigners have an impact in the most common practices.
What we refer to as “systemic racism” is racism produced by the system, i.e. the state, institutions, including laws that produce irregularity, build borders between individuals and prevent certain people from moving freely.

If we follow Reni Eddo Lodge (1) or Fabrice Dhume (2), systemic racism represents the exercise of a power that is not said, that is not assumed. It differs from stereotypical representations of a necessarily insulting or hateful racism on the edge of fascism.
More than insults or mockery, it is the expression of a “white organizational culture”, which can be seen as a hierarchical social order that operates – often implicitly and subtly – a “labelling” of individuals according to their real or supposed origin, their skin colour, their way of speaking, etc. It is the expression of a “white organizational culture”, which can be seen as a hierarchical social order that operates – often implicitly and subtly – a “labelling” of individuals according to their real or supposed origin, their skin colour, their way of speaking, etc.
This systemic racism is rooted in colonial history, in current migration or reception policies, shaping our imaginations and representations as ready to think and act.
It refers to all those imperceptible things – silent frowns, implicit prejudices, cookie-cutter judgements – that are both a translation and a reminder of the dominant social norm.

(1) Reni Eddo Lodge, Le racisme est un problème de Blancs, Paris, Autrement, 2018.
(2) Fabrice Dhume, “From institutional racism to systemic discrimination? Reformulating the critical approach”, Migrations Société, vol. 163, no. 1, 2016

Structural violence” is more global, since it does not only concern racialised people (on the basis of physical features, real or supposed religion, or a way of dressing) but anyone who sees his or her material and symbolic resources constrained by economic, political and institutional structures.
This violence is invisible since it is not attributed to a particular perpetrator but to a system, such as the neo-liberal policy that creates poverty, for example, or the asylum procedure that compels people to be assisted (prohibition to work, dependent on benefits).
In fact, systemic racism is structural violence.

On a daily basis, people who are foreigners experience differential treatment, discrimination, a testing of their speech and the non-respect of their rights.
This state of affairs is not the result of a chosen university policy.
The vagueness, discretion and ignorance of university staff allows them to exercise discretion and to unconsciously reproduce the workings of a system of domination.

You can also translate with and read this text from Mediapart :

What’s the Dublin procedure?

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Known as Dublin III, the regulation, signed in 2013 between the member countries of the European Union and Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, delegates responsibility for examining a refugee’s asylum application to the country that first received it.
In other words, a refugee who has entered European territory through Italy and has continued on to France cannot apply for asylum in France. If he registers his application at the prefecture, he will automatically be placed in the “Dublin procedure” and sent back to the country of entry, in this case Italy, to process his asylum application. This is called a “dubliné”.

Source :

This procedure prevents people from applying for asylum for several months and sometimes years. During this period they are controlled and risk being deported to the country that has registered their fingerprints, which interrupts their studies, breaks the bonds of attachment they create, slows down their learning of the language of the country where they are seeking to settle, etc.

You can also visit the GISTI’s friends site to find out more about this issue: