Terminales who plan to go to university in France this autumn can now apply for student grants and accommodation. Completed dossiers must be in by April 30 so it's a good idea to start the process as soon as possible
The easiest way is to apply online. Go to the CROUS (Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires) site of your académie (google CROUS and your region) to register – you will need your numéro d'étudiant (INE) — and choose the courses and universities which interest you.
You will receive an email confirming your registration and then your dossier (DSE, dossier social étudiant) will be sent either by email or by post for you to correct, complete, sign and return with the inevitable bits of paperwork, e.g. your parents' tax returns, attached.
The CROUS will let you know by the end of June whether or not your application for accommodation and/or a grant has been successful.
At the rentrée you must confirm that you have started your course by sending a justicatif from the university or higher education establishment to the CROUS. Your grant will only be paid after they have received this.
Criteria for higher education grants are not the same as those for secondary education so even if you are not a boursier at lycée, you may be entitled to a student grant.
Depending on your parents' financial circumstances, how many brothers and sisters you have, how far away from home you are studying, grants range from 1,640€ to 4,697€ per year paid over ten months.
And remember, if you are entitled to a grant and get a mention très bien in your bac you get a generous bourse de merite on top of this.
You can also apply for housing benefits (ALS, allocation de lodgement social) to help pay for your accommodation and you do this through your local CAF. NB If you claim ALS your parents will stop receiving your child benefits so it is worth doing the sums to see which is best for your family situation.
University-owned accommodation ranges from a single (furnished) room with shared cooking and bathroom facilities to self-contained studios and preference is generally given to boursiers. Of course students can also look for private accommodation although this is likely to be slightly more expensive.