Note on findings and recommendations regarding displaced students from Ukraine

The purpose for this note is: 1) to inform about the situation of the displaced people from Ukraine who arrived in France as of March 2022 and who have resumed their university studies in France 2) to present our recommendations.

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Union des Etudiants Exilés and the reception of students from Ukraine

Since the beginning of the conflict, the UEE has had 453 appointments with people from Ukraine, 90% of which were with women. We have had 406 appointments with students from other countries who have fled the same conflict (Angola, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso…). Most of the Ukrainian students that we received during our permanent office’s hours have had their temporary protection renewed for one year, following the initial period granted (six months).


This note is composed of two parts: the first part is about our findings on the difficulties encountered by displaced students from Ukraine and the second part is about our recommendations to improve the reception of these students.


Part One: Our Findings Regarding Access to Higher Education for People from Ukraine

  1. Despite of the numerous government grants, many Ukrainian students have encountered difficulties in meeting their needs. More specifically, students who are enrolled in FLE training (except DU Passerelles) do not have access to CROUS scholarships based on social criteria. This puts them in a very precarious situation. A lack of information regarding access to CROUS grants (which could be granted to people who are registered in an institution, have a temporary protection title, and justify a tax household (attached to the parents, a minimum of two years) contributed to keeping students from Ukraine in material instability for a certain time. Moreover, for Ukrainian students between 29 and 35 years old, the Aide Spécifique Annuelle (ASA) is not available.
  2. For Ukrainian students, the ADA and the CROUS scholarships cannot be cumulated at the full rate, so students may not be able to support themselves properly, also in view of the inflation of the cost of living.
  3. As far as difficulties related to university housing are concerned, we have observed that access to housing for Ukrainian students can be done only during the complementary allocation phase.
  4. Despite the creation of more than 87,000 accommodation places and the citizen accommodation promoted by the government, we have observed difficulties in accessing housing. In particular, we have observed that Ukrainian women accompanied by the UEE have encountered difficulties in accessing housing and have found themselves without accommodation because of the directive accommodation of the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII), which forced them to leave their homes in the Ile-de-France and move to another place far from their university where they had already begun their integration.
  5. The end of free public transportation. This measure which was in place until November has been lifted. We consider this measure very positive because it allowed Ukrainian students to move and study in a university and who had been placed by the OFII under the system of directive accommodation in a city different from the university where they were studying.
  6. Difficulties in opening a bank account. One of the compulsory conditions for accessing CROUS grants in order to receive the allowance is to have a current bank account. However, the banks, even the Post Office, provide the “livret A” to exiled students, especially Ukrainians, which prevents them from receiving their grant.
  7. We would like to alert you to a possible dropout for those who will start their university studies in 2023/2024. It seems to us that specific methodology courses for Ukrainian students are not planned. Those students who will have acquired the B2 level at the beginning of the academic year and who will be admitted to a university program, will not have the methodological bases to successfully complete their training.
  8. Public contracts awarded by Campus France provided FLE courses to those who had passed through Campus France. However, this was not the case for all students from Ukraine. Within the framework of this system, no financial aid was foreseen to help the students who wished to take these courses.
  9. From the perspective of guaranteeing the free equivalence of diplomas by ENIC-NARIC, we note the absence of the mention on the website of the criterion that includes the status “temporary protection”. We note that the list of languages that do not require a sworn translation does not include Ukrainian.
  10. As far as the CVEC is concerned, there is no exemption for temporary protection status, but only for refugees and asylum seekers.
  11. The situation of third-country students: the French government did not immediately grant temporary protection status to third-country students fleeing Ukraine, but only a one-month permit, creating great material instability. Then, in order to obtain a student residence permit, the government required these students to go through the Campus France procedure, even if they were already on French territory. This procedure was supposed to officially end on March 15, 2022, but it was useless for those students who were already in France because they started arriving in France on March 10. For those students who were in France and enrolled in French universities, the French government imposed the following conditions for obtaining a student residence permit: proof of enrollment in the university, a fixed address, having a bank account with a credit balance of €7,380, the minimum required for one year, and that the enrollment is consistent with their studies in Ukraine. Students who could meet these conditions were able to stay in France, but the others were invited to go to Spain or Portugal, countries that have opened temporary protection to all displaced persons from Ukraine. These obstacles forced many of these students to seek informal employment to support themselves, which had a negative impact on their educational path. In addition, these students are not eligible to apply for a CROUS scholarship based on social criteria1, which is financial aid for students. Finally, the moratorium on expulsions declared by the French government in July 2022 until the beginning of the school year in September is no longer in effect. Many foreign students have received OQTF (Obligation de Quitter le Territoire Français) decisions or decisions not to renew their residence permit, creating great insecurity and precariousness for these students.


Part Two: Our recommendations

We salute the effort that has been made by the French government in terms of the reception of Ukrainian people fleeing the conflict. We salute the speed with which the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) has put in place numerous reception measures in the emergency to respond to the arrival of people forced into exile by the war, particularly students.


We also commend the universities that have shown considerable commitment to welcoming and supporting refugee researchers and students.


The UEE considers that the integration of exiled people through studies must be considered as a pillar in the framework of policies of reception and integration of migrants. For this reason, we defend a fair and just reception for all exiled students, regardless of their nationality, status, gender and origin. Schools and universities must be places of creation of models of social insertion and new means of emancipation and inclusion.


In the following, we will present our recommendations regarding the improvements that can be made in order to welcome students from Ukraine in better conditions.


Long-term solidarity with students from Ukraine

  • We recommend that an emergency management action plan be put in place in the event that crises such as the one in Ukraine occur again. We suggest that this plan be designed on an interdepartmental basis.
  • We suggest the establishment of regular and stable financial support for higher education institutions for crisis management.
  • Establish an evaluation of the measures put in place during the crisis period for students


Production and provision of statistical data

  • According to our analysis of available Eurostat data, countries such as Germany, Spain and Italy have granted 213,000, 162,000 and 150,000 temporary protection permits to people from Ukraine respectively. France has granted 100,000.

However, as far as students are concerned, Germany, for example, has received approximately 10,000 students, compared to 2,000 in France. Based on available data from other European countries, young people between the ages of 18-34 represent on average between 25% (Germany, Spain, Italy) and 30% (Portugal) of the Ukrainian population hosted. It is certain that not all of these people have returned to university, but this age group nevertheless represents a significant part of the total number of people received (a quarter). Unfortunately, we do not have such precise data for France.

We also observe continuity of arrivals from Ukraine between July 2022 and December 2022, with an average of 5,000 Ukrainian people per month continuing to arrive in France.

We consider that it is essential to have disaggregated and exhaustive data concerning students from Ukraine. Today, some universities try to provide data with their means, but in a fragmented way and according to heterogeneous variables. Associations also carry out this work, including the UEE. It is necessary to have a transparent data production system and that the data be published on a regular basis.


  • We recommend the establishment of a system of disaggregated data production and regular data transmission to Eurostat. In this way, it would be easier to determine the profiles and needs of students from Ukraine. We recommend joining forces with CNOUS via CVEC, France Education Internationale via ENIC-NARIC, and Campus France to have specific data.


Registration and access to information

  • It is essential to maintain the exemption mechanisms put in place in universities, such as for the CVEC and registration fees, especially for people with “temporary protection” status.
  • In case of the absence of the diploma certificate or the transcript of records due to the conditions of exile, to maintain derogatory registration procedures for students from Ukraine such as the Application for Adapted Admission voted by the member institutions of the MENS Network, aiming at accompanying the students in the best possible way, or to develop procedures of validation of prior learning adapted to their situation.
  • Guarantee the right to recognition of diplomas and skills for university enrolment free of charge: it is essential that institutions set up procedures for recognizing the level of study of applicants without diplomas, for example through interviews (VES, VAPP).
  • Information related to higher education should be provided by OFII and its agents, as well as translated into several languages. In addition, the application set up by the DIAIR should be displayed in reception areas.
  • It would be necessary to provide specific methodological courses and tutoring hours for students from Ukraine at the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year, in order to complete their training.
  • Regarding the equivalence of ENCIC-NARIC diplomas (certificate of comparability), it would be important to insert the mention of the “temporary protection” status criterion on the website. Moreover, the Ukrainian language should be included in the list of languages exempt from sworn translation.
  • Develop mentoring programs between French students and Ukrainian students.


French language learning

  • Guarantee free French language courses and diplomas for displaced students from Ukraine.
  • These courses should be adapted to the academic needs of exiled people.


Material living conditions

Material stability is one of the pillars for a successful completion of university studies.


What we recommend in terms of financial resources:


  • Opening of CROUS scholarships and housing to all students enrolled in higher education, regardless of their nationality and administrative status.
  • Reformulate the requirement to provide a two-year tax certificate for people with a temporary residence permit and a resident permit as follows “(…) be domiciled in France for at least 6 months and/or attest to a tax household in France for at least 6 months (…)” in order to avoid refusals due to the lack of a tax certificate when people are eligible for aid.
  • Access to the ASA should be granted to students under “temporary protection” status.
  • We recommend that the CROUS scholarship and the ADA be combined at the full rate.
  • We ask that the “CROUS refugee referents” be re-established and that a list of them be updated, published, and made accessible in order to have direct and easy access for exiled students, especially for those coming from Ukraine (all statuses included).
  • Regarding the difficulties in opening a bank account, we suggest the establishment of partnerships with banks.


Lack of access to housing jeopardizes the continuation of studies of exiled people and puts them in a situation of great precariousness. Access to safe, comfortable, and sustainable housing throughout the years of study at an affordable price for exiled students is paramount in order to guarantee them material, health and psychological security.

  • We demand access to the main phase of housing allocation for Ukrainian students.
  • We demand the adjustment of the directive accommodation pronounced by the OFII during the period of studies, which can be a discouraging device that hinders the right to access higher education. Students should be able to apply for housing near their place of study and conversely, the OFII should take care of the change of living space.
  • Ukrainian students under temporary protection should be included in the visa guarantee.


For students from third-world countries who have fled Ukraine

  • We ask that the specific situations of students from other countries who fled Ukraine be taken into account.