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RUSF, what’s that?

The Universities Without Borders Network (RUSF) is a network of voluntary groups that accompany foreigners wishing to pursue university studies, foreign students in their administrative procedures with universities, prefectures or other organizations.

The aim of this site is to enable foreigners who wish to start or continue university studies to easily find friendly collectives in metropolitan France and overseas, some of which are called RUSF and are part of the RUSF network.

Some of these collectives are called RUSF and are part of the RUSF network.

The aim of this site is to bring together collective initiatives that are moving in the same direction and to provide support, information and guidance as easily and quickly as possible.
Collectives can be composed of teachers, students, administrative staff, or sympathizers.
They may or may not have a legal existence (associations, informal collectives, sometimes both).
These collectives may be related to the administration but are NOT the university administration.

The RUSF collectives fight for the right to education and access to higher education for all, considering that knowledge is a common good and must be shared.
The right to education requires dignified and stable living conditions, and therefore the immediate regularization of all undocumented students.
We organize ourselves to support foreign students in their administrative and legal procedures, especially those allowing them to register at university.
We fight against selection, differences in treatment, increased tuition fees, police harassment, administrative harassment and expulsion of foreigners.

The RUSF is trying to reconcile individual aid with a broader political struggle for the regularisation of those without the “right” papers and against the despicable Dublin procedures (see FAQ).
Everyone has a vision of a more global fight against systemic racism towards foreigners and current anti-migration policy.
Of course, we make no distinction between regular and irregular migrants.
Our positions are clear: We are in favour of freedom of movement and settlement, for the regularisation of those who do not have the “right” papers in the eyes of the administration, for the right to work, the right to study, the right to vote for foreigners and above all for personal autonomy and freedom of choice.
In short, we are in favour of access to common rights for people of all origins and nationalities.

The Universities Without Borders Network has been in existence since 2006.
It was born in the context of a broad movement in defence of undocumented young people in school and their families, and in reaction to evictions from schools by law enforcement officials.
See the text calling for the creation of the RUSFi at the end of the page.
At the national level, the RUSF network gradually unravelled around 2010/2013.
Some collectives claiming to be RUSF have nevertheless remained active until today.
In 2020, on the initiative of RUSF 38 of Grenoble, the site was re-founded.
A non-exhaustive survey was carried out in order to find similar collectives in France with the aim of making them more visible on the national site and to re-found a national network in order to exchange on our practices.


Since the beginning of the 2004 school year, a large movement in defence of young undocumented school children and their families has emerged. The Education Without Borders Network (RESF) has enabled many students to break out of isolation and to fight for their regularisation and that of their families, in order to win the right to live in France.

The risk for a young person of being forcibly removed from French territory does not stop at the school gates. In higher education, we have seen the situation of foreign students deteriorate for several years: deplorable reception conditions, social difficulties and administrative precariousness.

Being an undocumented student means first of all running the risk of being refused enrolment in a higher education institution despite being enrolled in an educational establishment because of a lack of papers or long-stay visas. But even for those who manage to enrol, the difficulties remain considerable: permanent fear of arrest and deportation at the border, difficulties in finding housing, health care, work, and a good life… Succeeding in one’s studies under these conditions is a feat and there are many failures.

Cases of undocumented students are also multiplying for those who are regularly enrolled in higher education institutions and have papers. Indeed, foreign students are constantly threatened by the intrusion of prefectures into their university courses and their private lives. Prefectures thus refuse to renew students’ residence permits on the pretext of insufficient resources, lack of accommodation or claiming the right to control their academic career. They judge on their own, arbitrarily and without any competence or pedagogical legitimacy, the “seriousness” and “reality” of the studies followed and thus decide that such and such a student will no longer be entitled to a residence permit to study in France.

Beyond residence issues, inequalities in treatment between French and foreign students are not acceptable. Foreign students are constantly subjected to restrictions and discrimination in terms of social aid, university social work, access to housing and employment.
And if, at the end of their studies, foreign students want to acquire initial work experience, they are almost systematically refused a change in their student status to a worker’s residence permit because of the opposability of the employment situation or the unsuitability of the job to their level of study (fewer than 4,000 changes of status granted out of 200,000 foreign students in France).

How can we accept that unjust laws impose such constraints and living conditions on our amphitheatre neighbours, our students, our friends? Can we leave comrades isolated until the decision of a prefect deprives them of the right to study and pushes them tied up in an airplane, thus making them disappear from our sight?

We believe that we must put an end to these differences in treatment. Equal rights for all students must prevail: every student, whatever his or her nationality, must be able to study in France under satisfactory conditions with the same access to work, social aid, housing (deposit system) etc.
Foreign students must be able to enrol in university under the same conditions as other students, according to the sole criterion of their pedagogical or professional achievements as assessed by university commissions.

At a time when legislation has been constantly reinforcing a utilitarian vision of immigration for a decade and accentuating the selection of foreign students according to the “needs” of the French economy, we want to reaffirm the universal vocation of higher education institutions, which must remain open to all. Their mission of teaching, exchange and reflection cannot accommodate inequalities between students or the exclusion of some.

That is why we call for the establishment of a nationwide network of solidarity with foreign students, which will have the task of breaking the isolation of undocumented students and defeating these absurd regulations.
Thus, we call on all actors in higher education but also on all those, individuals, unions, associations, parties, who reject injustice and oppression:
to sign, reproduce and circulate this appeal;
to constitute local collectives to make themselves known and to be able to create solidarity networks with foreign students.
to fight for equal rights between French and foreign students and
for the regularisation of all undocumented students so that
the sole possession of a student card gives access to the title of
stay and that the mere signing of an employment contract allows for the
to access employment.

Signatory Organizations :

AEOM (Association des étudiants d’origine malgache) ;Association des doctorants et étudiants des Roumains de France ;Association « étudiants étrangers bienvenus à Arras » ;AUGET (association universitaire des étudiants tunisiens de Grenoble) ;Association des étudiants de Béthune ;Association Le Monde Des Cultures ;ATMF association des travailleurs maghrébins de France ;COLCREA (Association d’Étudiants et Créateurs Colombiens en France) ;Collectif Lyonnais de Soutien aux Étudiants Étrangers ;Convergence citoyenne et Alternative citoyenne ;Étudiant comorien de France (Arc en ciel) ;Fac Verte (l’écologie universitaire) ;Fédération des étudiants maghrébins ;FERC-CGT ;FERC Sup-CGT ;FSU ;FTE-CNT ;Gisti ;GUPS (union générale des étudiants palestiniens) ;JCR ;LDH ;LMDE (la mutuelle des étudiants) ;SNASUB-FSU ;SNESUP-FSU ;Solidarité étudiante sénégalaise de Pau ;SUD étudiant ;UEAF (Union des étudiants algériens de France) ;UEC (Union des étudiants communistes) ;UNEF ;Union générale des étudiants en Tunisie ;Union des étudiants étrangers de Strasbourg ;Union des étudiants syriens de France.