I am going to study in Paris for a year (Erasmus). My sending institution will cover some part of my expenses but until I am able to find a job I will be living off my savings. Are there any scholarships/financial-aids in France/Paris to help out students?

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The main sources of financial help available to students in France are:

  • A Bourse de l'enseignement supérieur sur critères sociaux is a means-tested scholarship (eligibility is based on your parents' income). It can be available to foreign students under certain conditions (e.g. if you worked in France before or if your parents live there) but probably not to ERASMUS students so I won't elaborate.
  • Bourses du gouvernement français but they are not relevant for ERASMUS students either.
  • Scholarships from local authorities. I don't know the details but I don't think they would be relevant in your situation.
  • Aide personnalisée au logement (APL) and Allocation de logement sociale (ALS) are two forms of housing benefits. The first one is paid directly to your landlord, if your lodging qualifies. The second one is paid to you directly, if your lodging does not qualify for APL (you can only get one of these benefits at the same time). These are not specifically intended for students but most students qualify as they are available to anybody whose income is under a certain threshold (it's your income and not that of your parents that counts in this case).

Additionally, the Paris CROUS had a contact point for foreign students that should assist them in finding accommodation, applying for APL or ALS, finding a French-language course, etc. (information is from last year, it's seems it's only active around the start of the academic year, in September-October).

Finally, if you find yourself in particularly dire straits, you can also try to talk with a social worker (assistant social) at the local CROUS. They might be able to obtain emergency help or advise on other aids available to students.

Note that as far as I know the logic of the ERASMUS system is that you remain affiliated to your institution of origin. For example, you typically don't have to pay for tuition or get health insurance in the country you are visiting. Consequently, it might be best to look for additional funding from your country of origin and not from your destination country. I know there are several programs in France to complement ERASMUS for French students going abroad.

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