Foreign students may qualify for four types of financial award: granted either by the French government, by the 'Régions', by the European Union, or by the Institutions themselves.

French Government
Most of the scholarships financed by the French government are administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and amount to approximately 22,000 grants each year. These grant programmes are of two types:
·    Scholarships offered under bilateral assistance programmes between France and foreign governments are offered mainly for Doctoral programs. 80% of French government grants are of this type. Prospective applicants may obtain information from the office of culture and cooperation at the French Embassy
·    Eiffel grants need to be applied for in advance, as early as December for the following September intake. Applications should be made directly to The French University itself. The programmes applied for need to be within the framework of the specific programmes run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its departments in Paris.

The ‘Régions’ (Regional Councils)
Regional councils award grants to students and scholars enrolled in institutions in their region. Most regions offer doctoral and postdoctoral support that is administered by institutions of higher education and research. Such support is usually funded in partnership with a pubilc research organization or a private firm. Other regional grants may be available to international students under exchange agreements with educational institutions outside France.

International and European Union Programmes and Initiatives
Scholarships are also available from other sources. For instance, the Erasmus Mundus programme under the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) offers scholarships to international students with the intended purpose of encouraging students from other nations to study in European Union countries such as France. The programme encourages personal mobility and cooperation between European and non-European academic institutions. Its goal is to promote the European Union as a world-class region of academic excellence, to contribute to the sustainable development of higher education in Third World countries, and to enhance students' career prospects. The application process for this grant is very selective and students need to apply nearly one year ahead for the next incoming intake. The application deadline is usually in December.

Colleges and universities
Certain universities in France also offer sponsorships to international students. These may be particularly worth looking into if you already have a clear picture of where and what you would like to study, and possess good academic qualifications in that area.
   
For example, INSA Lyon awards grants of €2,000 per year over three years − sometimes four − to its foreign students. The programme lasts five years and leads to an Engineering Degree (two-year common-core syllabus followed by three years in a specialized field of engineering). The study grants help foreign students finance their studies at INSA and are awarded according to social criteria. Applications need to be submitted after admission to INSA Lyon has been granted. The school will then contact successful candidates.