The number one concern international students often have is finding housing… Getting accomodation with the CROUS can be a great way to find affordable housing in France, without even needing a guarantor! This year, foreign students can start applying starting July 9th, so keep reading to get ready and find out how you can get apply for CROUS accommodation as an international student.
What is Crous housing?
The CROUS stands for Centre régional des œuvres universitaires et scolaires in French, which translates to Regional Center for University and School Works. This organization is affiliated with the French governement, and its role is to help all university students by giving scholarships, managing student halls (“Restaurants Universitaires”), managing students residences and much more.
The CROUS is organized by regions: For example, if you study at Dauphine Université in Paris, then your CROUS of reference will be the CROUS of Paris.
As for housing, the CROUS manages more than 400.000 rooms and apartments all over France. Because their rooms are made for students, they’re often quite cheap: for example, whereas the average price of a studio apartment in Paris is 870€, the average CROUS room in Paris costs around 500€.
You’re probably thinking: “That sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch?”
Well, the thing is that it’s very hard for international students to get CROUS housing… Indeed, given the high number of requests, most applications are denied.
However if you can get a room, then you’re lucky, as international students can stay up to 3 years in the same CROUS apartment/room.
How to apply for CROUS accommodation?
Now that we know what the CROUS is, let’s see how to apply for CROUS accommodation!
- The first step is to create an account on messervices.etudiant.gouv. Creating an account is pretty straight-forward: they just ask for some information about yourself (name, DOB, etc.), your email address, and proof that you’re going to study or complete an internship in France.
If you have used ParcoursSup to apply to a French university, you already have a MesServices account.
2. Once you have your credentials, you can use them to sign in on the platform trouverunlogement.lescrous.fr and start your search.
Use the filters (price, location, etc.) to find housing that fits your needs.
You’ll then be able to go through the list and click on each listing to get more details. You can click to “Add to my selection”.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you can only will have up to 6 housing requests: two requests per city, out of a maximum of three cities.
3. The next step is to complete your application. Then, you have to do is wait around 2 weeks to wait for the answer.
- if they’re all denied, well, sadly, you have to keep looking Our checklist will give you helpful tips to help you find a place.
- if you’re lucky and one or several of your requests is accepted, then, you’ll need to prepare your arrival by completing the tasks below :
What do you need to do if you get CROUS accommodation?
Prepare your arrival
- Confirm your booking on the platform.
- Get home insurance to insure your future home
- Get a guarantor. No need to know a French person, you can use an several online guarantor service like VISALE (the one the CROUS recommends) or GarantMe (this guarantor service is included in the Movido Settle-in Pack!)
- If you can, bring some kitchenware and bedsheets because they’re not provided.
- Also, don’t forget to check the reception desk opening hours to make sure that you’re going to be able to check-in when you arrive!
What to do when you arrive
- You’ll need to provide the following documents:
- Your passport
- Proof that you have home insurance
- Proof that you have a guarantor (VISALE certificate, GarantMe certificate, etc.)
- A European Bank IBAN
- You’ll need sign the student residence’s rules
- You’ll need to pay the 1rst month of rent and a 300€ security deposit
Afterwards, you’ll complete the inventory of fixtures (état des lieux in French). With a CROUS employee, you’ll review the state of the room and then you’ll get it in writing. The goal of this is to have a point of reference for when you leave: if you have damaged your room during your stay, you’ll need to pay for the repairs.
You’ll get your keys after that! After you’re done resting from all of this, I’d recommend applying to the CAF to get housing benefits. You don’t have to, but it’s a fantastic way to pay less in rent. Don’t worry, applying will be easy thanks to the guide we have written about it ➡️ Get housing benefits from the CAF as an international student. Go check it out!
I hope that this guide was helpful! If it was, share it with all your international friends by clicking on the buttons below 🙂