With more than 230 active universities, there are many school options for those looking to study in France.
But if you are particular about a place where you can get higher education on your preferred course without worrying about tuition fees, the search becomes narrower.
Generally, in France, there are affordable universities you can find. Many of them are public universities since the French government subsidizes higher education.
If you are particularly looking for a sound university in France, whether as a local or international student, that provide well-rounded academic programs and curriculums, without requiring tuition fee, then you are at the right place.
Our recommendation on the best free universities in France
We’ve been able to review these active French universities to make sure that they offer a wide range of courses across various disciplines, including science, engineering, arts, social sciences, and humanities.
Most importantly, these universities do not charge tuition fees and they offer courses that are administered in the English language to favor international students.
- Sorbonne University
- Université Paris-Saclay
- Université de Bordeaux
- Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) University
- Université Paris Nanterre
- Université Paris Descartes
- Jean Monnet University
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations
- University of Orléans
Do keep in mind that these universities, though tuition-free, may require you to pay administrative fees and other expenses such as housing, food, and health insurance.
- Tuition: 18344 EUR (15,16,022 INR) annually.
- Sorbonne University Admission requirements page
- Sorbonne University Tuition details page
Enrollees of the bachelor’s degree programs are required to pay no tuition fees at Sorbonne University. It offers tuition-free education to both local and overseas students making it our top pick.
The best part is that the school has a solid reputation in academic research in France and Europe.
We strongly recommend this university for IT students looking to study engineering courses for free in France.
The top-performing research institution is located in the country’s capital, Paris.
- Tuition: ranges from €95 for the CVEC up to 170 EUR for other expenses.
- Université Paris-Saclay Admission requirements page
- Université Paris-Saclay Tuition details page
Another excellent university in France where you can get tuition-free education is the Université Paris-Saclay.
It is a public research university operating for 9 years, offering programs in science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities.
The school campus is located in the southern suburb of Paris And students here enjoy the exposure and experience that comes with research activities and partnerships
The school offers tuition-free education to both domestic and international students, but you still have to pay a small registration fee each year.
Université de Bordeaux
- Université de Bordeaux Admission requirements page
- Université de Bordeaux Tuition details page
If you want to study for free in France, particularly in science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, law, and economics courses, then the Université de Bordeaux is a fantastic option.
It is a multidisciplinary university located in Bordeaux in southwestern France.
The university is best known for its proficiency in research activities and it has endorsements with several leading research institutions around Europe.
Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) University
- Paris Sciences et Lettres Admission requirements page
- Paris Sciences et Lettres Tuition details page
With just a little fee for the registration process, both international and domestic students at the Paris Sciences et Lettres university are not required to pay any tuition fees.
The Research-intensive university is located in Paris, France, and is widely considered one of the best universities in France.
Here, you get a range of undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and medicine.
Getting into PSL may not be smooth due to the competitive requirement but it remains one of the best options, especially for overseas students.
Université Paris Nanterre
- Tuition: 170 euros for the Licence, and 243 euros for the Master’s degree.
- Université Paris Nanterre Admission requirements page
- Université Paris Nanterre Tuition details page
After interviewing many students who currently attend this university, we realize that law, economics, management, humanities, and social sciences are the common fields where students take programs at the Université Paris Nanterre.
In other words, if you’re interested in furthering your education in any of the above-mentioned fields, and you don’t want to put a strain on your pocket, then this university might be what you’re looking for.
The public university is located in Paris’s western suburbs and is known for its research excellence.
Université Paris Descartes
- Tuition: French programs at UP5 start from 200 USD per year.
- Université Paris Descartes Admission requirements page
- Université Paris Descartes Tuition details page
Université Paris Descartes is a public university in Paris. It’s not a popular option so we would imagine that you’ve not heard it among the famous rankings of best universities in France.
However, if your priority is a tuition-free university, then you may want to check out this school.
They offer medical, health sciences, law, economics, management, humanities, and social sciences programs.
But more particularly, the school has gained more feathers on its cap for excellence in health and medicine research.
Generally, it’s a solid option for free education in France without compromising on education quality.
Jean Monnet University
- Tuition: 1,000 USD per year for French programs (B2 level), while English programs are about twice the cost.
- Jean Monnet University Admission requirements page
- Jean Monnet University Tuition details page
This is another public research university in France that is worth your attention if you want a tuition-free education.
With a range of undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields, including economics, management, law, political science, languages, and engineering, Jean Monnet University offers incredibly affordable tuition fees compared to other universities in France.
So the programs are not offered tuition-free, but the cost of education is close to zero in terms of affordability.
The university is known for its proficiency in teaching and research, particularly in social sciences, law, economics, and management.
For example, the Center for International Relations and European Studies, the Center for the Sociology of Organizations, and the Center for the Study of Economics and Ethics are all established inside this University.
So if you are looking for exposure in your field of interest, this is a solid option. It also has a vibrant school community.
National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations
- Tuition: Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in French (level not lower than B2) cost 2,852 USD and 3,908 USD per year.
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations Admission requirements page
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations Tuition details page
The National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations is not entirely a tuition-free university in France. But it charges minimal fees for international students, starting from as low as 170 euros per academic year.
This is a public university in France that centers around the teaching of languages and cultures around the world.
Most of the graduates from this university venture into social studies and so the school proficiency is humanities-based.
You can compare the school with the likes of Oriental and African Studies in London.
University of Orléans
- Tuition: as low as 170 euros per academic year.
- University of Orléans Admission requirements page
- The University of Orléans Tuition details page
The University of Orléans is a multidisciplinary institution. It has three different colleges, an Engineering school, the National Institute of Higher Education, a physiotherapy school, medical training department, And four University institutes of Technology.
It is not an entirely tuition-free university by students here pay an incredibly low education cost, starting from as low as 170 euros per academic year.
The tuition you will pay depends on the program but it is amazingly affordable.
Do I have to know French to study at a free university in France?
After analyzing the academic details of every active university in France that offer free education, we discovered that most programs at these tuition-free institutions are taught in the French language.
So as an international student, it would help if you have a good command of the French language to cope with learning in these studies.
However, some universities offer programs taught in English and other languages.
For this reason, we have made the distinction while reviewing the best free universities in France in the above ranking.
It all boils down to your program of interest.
When it comes to a tuition-free education in France for both international and local students, Sorbonne University, the University of Paris, and the University of Burgundy are the most popular options.
But to take advantage of the free education in these institutions you have to be enrolled in a full program and also meet the admission requirements for the program you wish to pursue.
The requirements needed to study on tuition-free programs in these above-reviewed universities may vary, but generally, you will be required to provide a high school diploma or equivalent, and also meet the language requirements (most universities require proficiency in French or English)
In addition to this, getting into these universities may require you to provide a valid passport and visa and transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, or any document relevant to the application process of the University you’ve chosen
Getting admission into tuition-free universities in France is not easy as pie. But in some institutions, the process is less cumbersome.
The possibility of getting admission also depends on the program. So we wish you good luck in your academic pursuit.