Students in France are not immune to the country's rampant inflation. Some Moroccan students that Le360 spoke to stated that the already felt effects of inflation would probably have a bigger impact on their budget. The UNEF also documents an increase in tuition fees for international students, 2,770 euros for a degree instead of the usual 170 euros, 16 times more expensive than for Europeans.
At the beginning of the next academic year, your expenses will increase significantly. The UNEF in a study published last week, warned about this. In particular, the union announces a 6.47% increase in the cost of living for students from September 2023, which is equivalent to about 600 euros more per year.
More specifically, the average monthly cost of housing, which accounts for more than half of student spending, will increase by 3% to 4%. The same applies to transportation, which registers annual increases of almost 6% for those who do not have scholarships and almost 4% for those who do, as well as for food (more than 14%), medical consultations (18%), pharmaceutical expenses (17%) and optical expenses (up to 10%).
According to the UNEF, concerned about “the great student precariousness that settles over time”, the evolution of the cost of living of students had never reached such heights in its 19 years of research. For students, 6 out of every 10 euros of their budget are dedicated to monthly expenses related to housing.
This high cost of living is already evident, according to some Moroccan students Le360 spoke to. The Family Allowance Fund (CAF) has helped me pay between 200 and 300 euros for social housing, and Mohamed Ali Srir, 21, a student of images and artificial intelligence (AI), in the second year of Télécom Paris, confirms this.
Mohamed Ali Srir receives the Social Security Scholarship (BCS) from France and a merit scholarship from the Moroccan state worth 5,000 euros per year, but many of his compatriots do not, such as Ilham Ayyad, 22, who will start his Master's studies 1 at ESC Clermont in September. “Every month my parents send me a transfer of 650 euros. The rent represents 50% of this sum”. According to him, foreign students will be affected by this increase and may be forced to give up some of their free time activities in order to better manage their budgets.
The underlying food inflation
The person who previously had to pay 150 euros a month for his purchases will now have to pay twice as much to ensure the supply. Ismail also noticed this and explains that his weekly grocery bill increased from 40 to 70 euros. Since last year, food prices have risen markedly, according to Ikram Hamid, a senior at a Paris engineering school. “There were some supermarkets I used to shop at that had reasonable prices. Now they all offer almost identical prices,” he says
The decision-making power of the scholarship
Students without financial aid from low-income families are especially affected by this difficult situation. “As an association, we have received requests for help from students who have been affected by the increase in living expenses. We direct them to other organizations that can provide them with food baskets” says Mohamed Ali Srir.
Others, on the other hand, give private lessons to their cadets or high school students or work as interns to help them make ends meet. “I chose to offer these support courses as a way to cope with the increased living expenses” says Ismail. Of course, the new Moroccan students arriving in France in the coming days will have to prepare for this increase in living expenses.