Administration,  Useful tips & information

How to get French aid for the 2021 school year

Back to school French aid can be granted for your children. The detail of all the types of financial support you can receive to face this rentrée. This might help you meet your children’s school expenses.

If this is your first rentrée in France, you will see it is much more than the children’s back to school. It is the whole country back to business.

French school
Photo by Tiger Chap

Financial French aid for primary schools

Back-to-school allowance (ARS)

Is your child between 6 and 10 years old? Under certain conditions, you can benefit from the back-to-school allowance (called Allocation de Rentrée ScolaireARS – in French). Paid directly by the family allowance funds (CAF) or the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA), this aid amounts to €370.31 per child for the start of the 2021 school year.

To be entitled to it, your resources for 2019 must not exceed the following limits:

Number of dependent children enrolled at school aged 6 to 18Annual resource thresholds
1€ 25 319 
2€ 31 162 
3€ 37 005 
Per additional child€  5 843 
Source CAF: https://www.caf.fr/allocataires/droits-et-prestations/s-informer-sur-les-aides/enfance-et-jeunesse/l-allocation-de-rentree-scolaire-ars

INSIDER TIP: If your income is slightly above the threshold, still make the request as the CAF may pay an adapted proportional amount, called the ARS différentielle.

If you are already a recipient, you do not have to do anything to receive it. It will be paid to you directly by the CAF or MSA at the end of August. The MSA applies only to workers in the agricultural sector.

However, if you are not yet a recipient, you must download a benefits application form from the CAF website, print it out and send it to your CAF with the supporting documents indicated in the document. If you are a member of the MSA, the declaration of situation and resources can be made directly from your private space on the MSA website.

If your child is entering CP this year, the first year of primary school, but will not be 6 years old until 2022, you can still receive the ARS. For that, you need to send a certificate of schooling to CAF or MSA.

France school lunches

French aid for the canteen

The French school canteen fees at the primary school are set by the municipality. It may choose to allocate financial contribution for the canteen fee based on the family quotient. Contact your Mairie (French town hall) or the school to find out the relevant process.

School attendance grant

Some departmental councils award a school attendance grant to families with lower incomes who have to send their child to a primary school located more than 3 km from their home, as a boarder or half-boarder. 

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The conditions for entitlement may vary from one department to another. In all cases, if you wish to receive it, you must apply at the beginning of the school year and renew it each year. The file is submitted by the school headmaster.

The Pass’sport

The Pass’sport is a new back-to-school sports allowance of €50 per child to finance all or part of their enrolment in a voluntary sports association. To benefit from it, you must receive the Allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS) or the Allocation d’éducation de l’enfant handicapé (AEEH). 

If you are eligible, you will receive a letter from the Ministry of Education this summer, which you must present by 31 October when you register your child in a sports club. The €50 will be immediately deducted from the cost of the membership and/or licence.

basketball at school

Financial aid at college

Allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS)

As with primary school, parents of children attending secondary school with modest resources can benefit from the ARS. Its amount is €390.74 per child aged 11 to 14 for the start of the 2021 school year.

Secondary school grant

This French aid is paid, subject to means testing, to parents with a child enrolled in middle school or the Centre national d’enseignement à distance (Cned) – a French homeschooling programme. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, the amount of the secondary school grant is €35, €98 or €153 per term, or €105, €294 or €459 for the year.

The amount paid depends on the annual income received in 2020 (amount shown in your 2021 tax – or non-taxation – notice) and the number of dependent children in the household:

Number of dependent childrenLevel 1Level 2Level 3
1€15 795 €8 538€3 013
2€19 440 €10 509€3 708
3€23 085 €12 479€4 403
4€26 730 €14 451€5 098
5€30 376 €16 421€5 794
6€34 021 €18 391€6 489
7€37 600 €20 362€7 184
8 or more€41 311 €22 332€7 879
Grant annual amount€105 €294€459
Source:https://www.education.gouv.fr/media/88628/download (the levels come from your French tax receipt)

An online college scholarship simulator can be used to calculate the right to a scholarship.

The application for a secondary school scholarship is made between 1 September and 21 October.

The request can be done either: 

  • on the Scolarité-Services portal, now called Educonnect, if your child is enrolled in a public collège ; 
  • or using a paper form if your child is enrolled in a private establishment under contract or authorised to receive national scholarship holders or enrolled in the Centre national d’enseignement à distance. The deadline for sending the application is extended to 30 October if your child is enrolled at the Cned.
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The application form can be downloaded from this link: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/R11499

Boarding school allowance

This allowance is intended for all scholarship-holding secondary school pupils attending boarding schools. 

According to an order published on 14 July in the Journal Officiel, its amount for a secondary school pupil is €327 (level 1), €396 (level 2) and €465 (level 3) for the school year 2021-2022. It is paid in three instalments, each term, by deduction from the bill for boarding costs. It is awarded automatically, and parents do not have to fill in any specific file to benefit from it.

The school social fund

This French aid is intended for families who have difficulties in meeting their child’s schooling and life expenses (transport, school outings, school supplies and textbooks, sports equipment, half-board or boarding fees, etc.). 

It is awarded by the school headmaster on the advice of the school committee. It is not necessary to be a scholarship holder to benefit from this aid. The aid takes the form of a sum of money or a benefit in kind. 

Contact the school administration for more information.

The social fund for the canteen

The school’s social fund enables parents in financial difficulty to cover all or part of the cost of catering. Ask the secretariat or the social worker for information. The school headmaster will decide whether or not to grant you the fund.

French regional and departmental aid

Some municipalities, departments and regions grant scholarships to students. Find out more directly from the town hall, departmental or regional council.

The Pass’sport

The Pass’sport is a new back-to-school sports allowance of €50 per child to finance all or part of their enrolment in a voluntary sports association. 

To be entitled to it, you must receive the Back-to-School allowance (ARS) or the Allocation d’éducation de l’enfant handicapé (AEEH). 

If you are eligible, you will receive a letter from the Ministry of Education this summer which you must present by 31 October when registering your child in a sports club. The €50 will be immediately deducted from the cost of the membership and/or licence.

French high school

Financial French aid at the lycée

Back-to-school  allowance – Allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS)

Parents of children attending secondary school who have modest means can receive the ARS. The amount is €404.28 per child aged between 15 and 18.

High school grant

This grant is available in 6 levels, depending on the resources of the person(s) responsible for the pupil attending the lycée and the number of dependent children. For the year 2021-2022, the annual amount varies from €441 to €936.

Like the secondary school grant, it is paid in three quarterly instalments. The resources taken into account correspond to the reference tax income for the year 2020 mentioned on the 2021 tax notice.

To find out if you are entitled to a grant, you can use the official simulator. You must indicate :

  • your child’s education ;
  • the number of children you have to support
  • the reference tax income for 2019.
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The application for a grant is made between 2 September and 21 October:

  • on paper, using the Cerfa form n°11319*18
  • or online on the Scolarité-Services portal of the academy in which your child’s lycée is located.

Equipment allowance

Worth €341.71, it is paid in one go with the first term of the lycée grant to students in the first year of certain specialised CAP, vocational bac, technological bac or technician certificate courses. It is awarded automatically.

Boarding school allowance

Automatically granted to all scholarship students attending boarding school, it amounts to 327 € (level 1), 396 € (level 2), 465 € (level 3), 534 € (level 4), 603 € (level 5) or 672 € (level 6) for the 2021-2022 school year. It is paid in three instalments by deduction from the bill for boarding costs.

study in france

The merit-based scholarship

Pupils with a scholarship who have obtained a mention Bien or Très Bien in the brevet des collèges degree automatically receive the merit scholarship.

This supplement to the lycée grant is paid throughout the schooling until the end of the cycle leading to the baccalauréat. Its annual amount varies according to the level of the lycée grant, from €402 (level 1) to €1,002 (level 6). It is awarded in three instalments at the same time as the lycée grant.

The study resumption bonus

Young people aged between 16 and 18 who have received a grant and who are returning to vocational studies (excluding apprenticeships) after a break in their education of at least five months may receive a study resumption bonus.

The bonus is worth €600 and is paid in three instalments in addition to the lycée grant. In total, the annual amount paid is at least €1 000. To be entitled to it, you must be enrolled in a lycée and have submitted an application for a lycée grant. The application is made to the school secretariat.

The Lycée Social Fund

In public lycées, families can receive assistance to meet the costs of school life and education. It is granted by the head of the school.

The social fund for the canteen

The school’s social fund enables parents experiencing financial difficulties to cover all or part of the costs of catering. Ask the secretariat or the social worker for information. The head of the school will decide whether or not to grant you the fund.

Le Pass’sport

The Pass’sport is a new back-to-school sports allowance of €50 per child to finance all or part of their enrolment in a voluntary sports association. 

To be eligible, your child must receive the Allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS), the Allocation d’éducation de l’enfant handicapé (AEEH) or the Allocation aux adultes handicapés (AAH). If you are eligible, you will receive a letter from the Ministry of Education this summer which you must present by 31 October when registering your child in a sports club. The €50 will be immediately deducted from the cost of the membership and/or licence.

Exam
Photo by Ivan Aleksic

Key Take-Aways

There are quite a few French aids you can receive to help to face our children’s back to school expenses.

Many of them are paid automatically once you are registered with CAF and update the regular income questionnaire to prove that you continue meeting the criteria to receive the financial assistance.

Other French financial support will be received upon request, either to a French administration or the school headmaster.

If you are unsure of the process to follow, the city council social worker will be able to assist.

All the best this new French rentrée!

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