Ukraine – Welcoming Ukrainian students to France – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to a written question in the National Assembly.
The war of aggression waged by Russia against Ukraine has led to the large-scale displacement of a part of the Ukrainian population to the rest of Europe. More than 5.6 million Ukrainians have fled their country, and around 100,000 have been welcomed to France (according to data from the OFII [French Office for Immigration and Integration]). Nearly 20,000 Ukrainians are currently registered in the French educational system, including some 2,000 registered as students in higher education. Prior to the conflict, in the autumn term of 2021, France welcomed nearly 1,600 mobile students, half of them on degree-level programmes (according to data from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research).
Every year, to support the mobility of top-level Ukrainian students to France, the French Embassy in Ukraine issued more than 100 grants for study and high-level scientific visits (115 in 2022). After 24 February 2022, a quarter of these grants and visits were extended to support students and researchers not eligible for temporary protection because they had already settled in France prior to that date, having stated that they were in an especially difficult situation. The extension of this financial support also enabled the students concerned to retain their accommodation in centres régionaux des œuvres universitaires et scolaires (CROUS) [regional organizations hosting and providing bursaries for students].
All those involved in welcoming students to France also swiftly put in place emergency support after the war broke out – both for students who had fled Ukraine (Ukrainian citizens or third-country nationals studying in Ukraine before the war), and to support Ukrainian students already in France – through the creation of emergency funds by universities, the deployment of CROUS emergency assistance, and fundraising through the Virtual House of Ukraine at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris [foundation maintaining student halls of residence].
While refugee students benefiting from temporary protection are granted asylum seekers’ allowances, this support adds to the assistance already available to foreign students in France, such as that from Caf (for accommodation) and the CROUS (meals for €1 and grants of up to €500 if the student has a temporary residence permit and/or has lived in France for two years). Ukrainian students who arrived before 24 February are thus eligible for this French State assistance, some of which, however, depends on retaining student status in France. To facilitate access to or maintenance of this status, Ukrainian students and those who had fled Ukraine were able to benefit in the spring of 2022 from an additional procedure to the “Studying in France” procedure, which was itself maintained: the additional procedure enables them, by way of derogation, to register directly with institutions outside the candidature timetable recommended by the “Studying in France” platform.
Moreover, a response has been provided concerning the problem of language ability: of those students who fled Ukraine and those already settled in France before the war, not all had a sufficient level of French to ensure they were admitted onto their chosen programme in France and could thus obtain or maintain student status. To address these needs, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Campus France agency are implementing a programme of grants for intensive French as a Foreign Language courses, which will make it easier for students to be admitted to their chosen programme in the next academic year (2023-2024)./.