Cost of living rises for students in France by three times the rate of inflation

by Ray Clancy on August 23, 2017

People looking to study at university in France this year will find that their living costs have increased with a new report suggesting they are up by just over 2%, three times higher than inflation.

The 2017 rise in costs for students is more than twice the increase seen in past years, according to an annual report from Unef, the trade union. Living costs went up 1.1% in 2015 and 1.23% in 2016 but are set to rise by 2.09% in 2017.

(Prasit Rodphan/

The cost of accommodation is the biggest driver of the increase, according to the report with rents in cities up across the country and transport costs also rising.

Indeed, the cost of both rents and public transport has increased in 11 towns and cities, led by Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Angers and Rennes, and the cost of renting small apartments has increased in 37 cities.

Rent is a big cost for students. Unef has calculated that paying for somewhere to stay takes up some 53% of a student’s living costs yet in 11 university towns and cities both rents and transport costs have increased.

These two costs have increased the most in Clermont Ferrand with a rise of 3.29%, followed by Evry up 3.19%, Rouen up 2.53%, Strasbourg up 2.18%, Paris up 2.06%, Mulhouse up 1.65%, Nimes up 1.56%, Nancy up 1.53%, Rennes up 1.22%, Angers up 1.18% and Lyon up 1.06%.

While nationally rents have increased by 1.68%, some university locations have seen rents fall, most notably a decrease of 3.4% in Toulon and 1.19% in St Etienne. Rents have also fallen marginally in Pau, Caen, Lille, Nice, and Bordeaux.

But the biggest rise in rents alone has been in Limoges with a rise of 7.6%, followed by Grenoble up 4.34%, Le Havre up 2.34%, Paris up 2.23% and Reims up 2%.

Students can qualify for personal housing allowance but it is being cut, with a fall of €5 a month being introduced from October 2017.

There are a couple of measures that should help students with a freeze announced on the cost of a meal in university restaurants and university registrations fees have not gone up this year.

The biggest rise in transport costs has been in Strasbourg with an increase of 3.91%, followed by Clermont Ferrand up 3.63%, Rouen up 2.51%, Nancy up 2.44%, Paris up 2.43%, Bordeaux up 2.13% and Lyon up 1.61%.

Unef is calling for an emergency plan to set up for students to help reduce the cost of accommodation by making them exempt from local authority housing tax and for special low cost fares to be introduced on public transport.

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