Living in France is expensive. In the European Union, Paris – the capital of France – has been ranked the most expensive city to live in, ahead of Geneva and Reykjavik in Iceland.
Sadly, this situation has rubbed off on the cost of attending a university in France as the tuition fee does not make the matter better in the face of expensive groceries, transportation, and other essentials for students’ lives in France.
For this reason, many students aspiring to attend a French university would look beyond the rich culture, history, cuisine, and iconic landmark to select the institution that is tuition free.
Some universities in France do not charge tuition fees, while others charge meager costs. The best part is that these universities accept international students as well.
If this sounds like what you’re looking for, this review is for you. We’ve done the research. And now, all you have to do is select the one that most meets your academic needs and priorities.
Our Top Recommended Free Universities to Attend in France
The methodology of our review is filtered to ensure that the best free universities in France offer popular courses, are ranked high with employment reputation, and are also QS-ranked.
We have also highlighted essential information about these institutions regarding their admission requirements and free tuition details. Here is a list of our top recommendations:
- Sorbonne University
- University of Burgundy
- Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3
- Le Mans University
- University of Orléans
- University of Franche-Comté
- University of Clermont Auvergne
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations
- Jean Monnet University
As you read through the details of the best free universities in France, you will notice that some of these universities have their quoted tuition fee. They are still ranked as free universities because they accept fully funded scholarships and special tuition waiver programs.
With more than 9,000 international students attending, Sorbonne University is the top public institution in France that is free and has become a common choice.
The prestigious university extends its tuition-free policy to both domestic and international students. The only educational expenses that enrollees need to settle are the registration fee which is as low as 243 EUR for a Master’s degree.
Students pursuing a Doctorate at Sorbonne University won’t pay tuition fees, but a 380 EUR charge would be required for registration fees. Similarly, those in the Bachelor’s program would be expected to produce 170 EUR for the registration fee.
Sorbonne University is one of the best free universities in France for any student. It operates with three faculties: The faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
University of Burgundy
The University of Burgundy in France is another recommended free university. Although the school has quoted tuition fees of 170 EUR for both international and domestic Bachelor’s programs, there are specific funding programs that students can qualify for that will waive their tuition.
Even considering the tuition fee, the university ranks as the top cheapest institution in France. With more than 300 worldwide partners that aid students’ learning experiences, the university of Burgundy undergoes periodical teaching and research missions.
This is an excellent place to be if your academic career is focused on science and technology. The programs offered here for free are wired in such a line—little wonder why the university boasts numerous advanced equipment and resources for student utilization.
Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3
- Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3 Admission Requirement Page
- Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3 Free Tuition Details page
Like the university of Burgundy, this Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3 charges 170 EUR for international and Domestic Bachelor’s tuition, but there are provisions for free education for students.
It is a public university that focuses on social sciences and arts. If this sounds like the line of your career, then you can pursue higher education at Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3 without financial worries.
The school has a renowned theatre, a symphony orchestra with presentations open to the public, a historical museum, and an ever-expanding campus.
Here students are given equal opportunities and work closely with the community.
Le Mans University
At Le Mans University, international students tend to pay admission fees of 170 euros per year for education. The university is tuition-free, but you may be required to pay specific fees, depending on your program.
The institution is a small, public university in Western France. But the irony of the juxtaposition of this school is fantastic.
Le Man’s university is home to about 10,800 local and international students and is known for its quality of teaching and educational value, despite little or no tuition cost.
If you are going to apply for a program at Le Mans University, keep in mind that most of its academic programs are taught in French, including programs under the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and professional levels.
University of Orléans
The University of Orléans is another free university located in France (about a two-hour drive away from Paris), and it has more than 1,165 teachers and 19,026 students
The university comprises of:
- one engineering school
- four University Institutes of Technology
- one National Institute of Higher Education
- one University Science of the Universe Observatory
- one physiotherapy school
- one medical training department.
These departments are known as Training and Research Units.
University of Franche-Comté
- University of Franche-Comté Admission Requirement Page
- University of Franche-Comté Free Tuition Details page
170 EUR is a tuition charge for domestic and international students attending the University of Franche-Comté for the Bachelor’s program. However, there are fully sponsored scholarship programs available to students.
The university is located in the heart of Paris and is an ideal institution for students looking for comprehensive educational training. It is more of a practical school with a strong legacy of being home to more international students coming to France to study.
University of Clermont Auvergne
- University of Clermont Auvergne Admission Requirement Page
- University of Clermont Auvergne Free Tuition Details page
Next on the list of free universities in France is the University of Clermont Auvergne. What makes this institution stand out from others is the fact that it is internationally focused.
Here, educational programs are developed with a global orientation, making it an ideal place for international students studying in France.
The school has a multitude of international agreements signed with corresponding universities. Free tuition policies enjoyed by students from EU countries in this university have been equally granted to non-EU students.
In other words, no matter your nationality, you will only have to pay 170 euros per year. If you are applying for master, medical and engineering programs, expect to pay more.
National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations Admission Requirement Page
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations Free Tuition Details page
Suppose you are looking for an institution in France that focuses on teaching languages and cultures around the world. In that case, the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations is the perfect institution.
It is a public university that shares similarities with Oriental and African Studies in London as it offers humanities-based programs like social studies for undergraduate and graduate programs.
The institution is one of the cheapest for international students in France, as the standard rate starts from 170 EUR per year. It is still one of France’s best free schools for higher education today.
Jean Monnet University
This is another public educational institution in France with more than 20 thousand students. It offers research-based education with several student associations to provide a supportive environment for students.
The Jean Monnet University is an institutional component of the University of Lyon with special multidisciplinary programs.
It is essential to remember that most of the free universities in France offer programs in the French language. Considering a public university, you will have to deal with this.
If you are pursuing undergraduate study in any of these free universities, you would have to provide a qualification that allows you to apply for study into higher education, such as an O’level result.
On the other hand, international students pursuing graduate study in French universities would be expected to provide a good Bsc result with a transcript in a related field.
You can study in France without knowing the French language. But if you are targeting a study in the french language, a French language certificate to show your proficiency in the language would be required during application.
Programs in these free universities that are administered in the English language, in the same vein, would require test reports on English proficiency tests like TOEFL.
Cheers to academic success!