The cost of living is rising, but their income is falling. The student budget has been hit hard by the reforms of the government of Emmanuel Macron, according to the annual survey of the National Union of Students of France (UNEF), published Sunday, August 15. The study appears in a context where the cost of student living is expected to increase further at the start of the 2021 school year.
The student union estimates at nearly 40 euros “The money that students have lost each year in direct aid since the coming to power of Emmanuel Macron in 2017”, while the cost of student living has increased by more than 10% over the same period. In question, “Nearly 41.2 million euros in budget cuts” in direct aid to students between 2017 and 2019, according to a calculation by the UNEF.
By way of comparison, the report cites the impact of the two previous presidential terms on the student budget: + 45 euros per student and per year for that of Nicolas Sarkozy and + 92 euros per year for that of François Hollande.
The rent increase involved
In addition to the drop in direct aid to students, UNEF also denounces “Multiple attacks on the amount of APL” (personalized housing assistance), citing the reform which has applied since January 2021 and which modifies their method of calculation.
Due to the health crisis, in 2020 the government adopted measures to fight against student insecurity, such as the freezing of university fees, renewed for the start of the 2021 school year. The extension of the meal plan to 1 euro to non-scholarship students, decided in January 2021, will be deleted in September.
For the 2021-2022 school year, the UNEF forecasts an average increase in the cost of student living of 2.5% compared to 2020, or 247 euros per year. “This increase results in particular from the increase in rents in the provinces and in the Paris suburbs”, explains the report. Accommodation remains the first item of expenditure for students.
To fight against student insecurity, UNEF is calling for a reform of the scholarship system to increase their amount, expand the number of beneficiaries and integrate foreign students. The union also advocates the establishment of a “Autonomy allowance for each young person in training, without condition of resources”.
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