5 Universities in France with No Application Fee

Universities in France have historically been very accessible to students from all backgrounds, especially in the case of those with French or European Union citizenship. A large number of universities are public and have government-regulated tuition and application fees, while the private universities still offer generous scholarships and waivers depending on students’ family incomes.

The only scenario in which it will cost a little more to study in France is when you apply as a non-European student. However, in those cases as well, there are opportunities to apply for financial aid and there are many universities without application fees.

Here are some French universities that do not require an application fee.

1. University of Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne

No application fee for: all students
The University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is situated right in the heart of Paris and traces its roots back to the 13th century, when Robert de Sorbon founded the first college on the same premises. Since 1970, the university has reorganized in three broad areas: humanities and arts, law and political science, and economics and management. University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne is one of the universities in France that do not charge an application fee.

In total, there are around 43,000 students enrolled across these three areas and split into locations across Paris and its suburbs. In fact, the university uses 25 locations.

Within humanities and arts, students can work towards degrees in history, geography, philosophy, art history, and creative arts. Some particular degrees are unique and known worldwide, such as restoration of art objects or esthetics. There are also research centers with an international reach within each of these departments.

Within law and politics, students can also obtain administration and public sector degrees and conduct social studies.

Within the economics and management branch, you can study for your economics or management degree as well as for specializations in mathematics and IT. This area is the university’s most internationally successful branch, in terms of numbers of alumni as well as performance in international competitions year on year.

In rankings within France, the University of Paris 1 is ranked second for economics and law studies in the country. It is also the best French university for Archaeology, History, Law and Economics.

2. University of Montpellier

No application fee for: all students
Next on our list of French universities with no application fees is the University of Montpellier. With a history starting in 1220, the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest universities in the world. It is situated in south-eastern France close to the Mediterranean coast, which gives it an excellent location with a multicultural setting and great connections for travelling around Southern Europe.

Its programs are ranked really well among universities in France and the world, particularly Ecology, where it is considered the best in the world.

The University of Montpellier accepts c. 7,000 students every year, of which there are 1,800 PhD students. It has 15 faculties and schools and one observatory. Students can enroll in programs in Athletics and Physical Education, Dentistry, Economics, Education, Law and Political Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences, Management, Engineering, General Administration, Business Administration, as well as the National University Institute for Teaching, Education and Training Professions. There are also a few associated institutions: the University Schools of Technology in Béziers, Sète and Nîmes.

3. HEC Paris (Hautes Études Commerciales)

No application fee for: applicants from international pre-selected universities, schools and HEC partner institutions or applicants to a double degree between HEC Paris and their home university
HEC Paris is the best known MBA provider in France, an internationally renowned economics university with excellent links across institutions all over the world. Established in 1881, it is famous for being one of the most selective schools of higher education in France – part of the grandes écoles, a very select group of postgraduate schools.

You can apply to study in English or French here and the main degrees on offer are the Master in Management, MBA, and EMBA. There are also specialized MSc and PhD programs and a number of executive programs.

HEC alumni include 12 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies as of 2017, on a par with Harvard and Stanford Business schools, as well as several high-ranking politicians, heads of government, entrepreneurs and other prominent figures.

While the school doesn’t offer free tuition or application fee waivers, the latter don’t need to be paid by students from a select group of international partner universities.

4. University of Strasbourg

No application fees for: all students
The University of Strasbourg in the north-east of France is a top higher education institution located in the Alsace region of France, with a mixed German and French heritage. It is highly ranked worldwide and boasts notable scientists, Nobel prize winners and Field Medal winners among its alumni, being ranked among the best in the League of European Research Universities. The University of Strasbourg is another universities in France with no application fees.

Originally, the University of Strasbourg was a Lutheran humanist German Gymnasium and began teaching in 1538. It went through different iterations while Alsace changed hands between Germany and France, and in 1971 was divided into three separate institutions which eventually re-merged in 2009.

Today, you can enjoy an interdisciplinary approach to education here, an international environment, and a great cultural life too, while taking advantage of the university’s international partnerships.

5. University of Lille

No application fees for: all students
Next on our list of French universities with no application fees is the University of Lille. Based in the north of France, the University of Lille is the largest university in France, enrolling c. 67,000 students. This makes it one of the largest French-speaking universities in the world, too.

The University of Lille is famous for its extensive research facilities such as 66 labs and many collaborations with institutions across the world. While degrees are offered in Arts, Literature, Languages, Law, Economics, Management, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sports, the most popular parts of the university are its scientific branches: Health, Science and Technology. The scientific campus, located in a technopole in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, has 150 hectares and 100 buildings in total. There is also a dedicated Health Campus which forms the largest university hospital complex in Europe across 350 hectares. Three other campuses are in use, covering the other branches of the university.


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