State aid for French students is trailing behind rising costs of university fees and accommodation, the country's main student union claimed this month.
An inquiry into students' purchasing power published by the Union Nationale des Etudiants de France found that essential spending this year was 5.6 per cent higher than a year ago, but government subsidies had increased by 1.5 per cent. In the past five years, financial aid had risen by less than 5 per cent, while costs grew by 20 per cent.
"The erosion of public investment in favour of students started in 2002, when the student social plan launched by (former socialist education minister) Claude All gre came to an end," Bruno Julliard-Landau, UNEF's president, said.
UNEF called for higher benefits; abolition of "illegal" supplementary fees levied by some institutions; requisition of empty housing for students; and opening the benefit system to foreign students.