BM 63 – Supporting grant reforms in France

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The current grant system in France was conceived during the late 40’s and has never undergone any major change. Nonetheless, in 60 years, the number of students in the country was multiplied by 10 (growing from 200 000 to 2,4 million today), allowing access to HE to many more students from lower-class families.

Such an obsolete system neither guarantees equal access to University, nor does it give students equal chances of succeeding in their studies. The social selection outside and inside the HE system has risen dramatically (the percentage of students from lower-class families accessing HE has dropped 11% in 5 years), and more than 50% of students have to take a part-time or full-time job in order to finance their studies, increasing their chances of abandoning them.

This month, the Ministry of higher education will open negotiations between student unions and the government, in order to reform the financial aid system in 2013.

Recent student elections all over France have shown that students want a profound change in the grant system. Students no longer agree with a system that aids only 1 person out of 5, nor do they agree with a system based on family revenue rather than the individual needs of students.

With a historically high level of participation, the student population has shown its strong desire for a grant system every student could benefit from, which would allow us to be financially independent from our parents without having to take part time jobs to finance life and study expenses.

Similar systems are already implemented in a certain number of European countries, and have proven to be effective in allowing more people to achieve a HE degree.

Given the results of the student elections and the opening of negotiations, ESU supports the student union representatives in their will to impose a universal, student-need-based grant system in France.


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