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Student accommodation—what does it cost?

Looking for student accommodation when you start university? N26 has all the info you need to help you find a cozy nest where you can study to your heart’s content.

6 min read

Looking for student accommodation when you start university? N26 has all the info you need to help you find a cozy nest where you can study to your heart’s content.

The different types of student accommodation

Before getting into the numbers, be aware that there are several types of student accommodations, and the rent will vary depending on your choice:

  • Cité universitaire (Campus accommodation): Also known as “Cité U”, these CROUS (regional student welfare association) buildings are only accessible to scholarship students. Often located near universities, they provide housing for students, depending on their family’s income.
  • Shared accommodation: A lot of students opt to share the costs of a large apartment with others. It generally provides cost-savings and lets you experience the joys and challenges of living with people!
  • Boarding: This option may not be the first to spring to mind, but boarding can be a good solution for preparatory class students. But be careful—prices can soar in private high schools!
  • Studios: The student accommodation choice par excellence, a small studio apartment is often the preferred solution for young people flying the family nest for the first time.
  • Homestays: An alternative solution to shared student accommodation, this type of housing is particularly suitable for small budgets. With homestays you live with the owner in their spare room. It gives you all the comfort and amenities of a bigger apartment, but you only have to cover the rent of a room.

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Which student accommodation should you choose?

Before you dive headlong into the jungle of room ads, we’d encourage you to take stock of your wants, needs and, of course, your budget. Are you more of a lone wolf or do you like community living? Is your budget aligned with that of the student market in your city? Are you eligible for a student grant? Would you prefer to live on campus or in the city center? 

All of these criteria will give you a clearer idea of ​​what you’re looking for. Don’t hesitate to be picky—contrary to what you might think, when you’re really clear on your priorities (beyond just financial constraints), you’ll have a better chance of finding the best student accommodation for you. 

A student studio apartment may be the ideal solution for those who want a bit of independence (and for those who spend hours in the shower!), while more sociable types are more likely to enjoy a shared apartment. We think homestays are great for students who need a temporary pied-à-terre that’s inexpensive and doesn’t come with any moving expenses, like students going home at weekends or taking an internship. Finally, boarding can be a good solution for those who want to be near their school and bond with classmates. Campus accommodation is reserved for scholarship students, and provides affordable housing close to the university.

How do you find student accommodation?

Our first tip for finding student accommodation that meets all your needs is to do it well in advance, ideally in the April/May timeframe. Once diploma and baccalaureate exam results have been released—usually at the beginning of July—the competition gets fierce, and the chances of finding your dream spot start to drop.

Next, we recommend looking further than the all-encompassing LeBonCoin.fr, and doing some research on websites that are more targeted to the type of accommodation you’re looking for. Here are some good websites to check out when you’re searching for student accommodation:

  • Studapart and Immojeune: Here you’ll find ads for studios (student or general accommodation), apartments with 2 or 3 rooms, shared apartments, homestays, and accommodation in exchange for services
  • Adele: This website specializes in student accommodation with private landlords
  • Lokaviz: If you’re looking to stay with a local, this is the site for you!

Another tip is to prepare your application file in advance with all the required documents, so that you can apply quickly and increase your chances of landing the place of your dreams. Among the documents requested, you’ll need to have:

  • A copy of a document confirming your identity, and that of your guarantor
  • A copy of your student card
  • Proof of your income or that of your guarantor
  • Your guarantor’s tax return
  • A housing support certificate, if you have one

What does student accommodation cost?

So, how much do you need to set aside for student accommodation? The national average rent for student accommodation is around €600 per month, according to a 2021 Loc Service study. N26 shows you the average prices for the different types of housing out there:

  • Studio apartments: Allow around €550 per month for a studio. There are of course differences depending on the city: in Paris, you’ll need to pay nearer €850 per month, compared to around €570 in Lyon, Bordeaux, or Aix-en-Provence.
  • University residence: Rents vary between €150 for a room with a shared bathroom and €250 for a studio, each month.
  • Shared accommodation: Factor in an average monthly budget of €468 for a shared place.
  • Boarding: The average price of a boarding room is €1,000 per year for public schools and €10,000 per year for private schools.

You could be eligible for student housing support

Besides CROUS grants, students have access to several types of housing support such as APL (Personalized Housing Assistance) and ALS (Social Housing Allowance). Read our article to find out more about student scholarships and support.

Extra costs to factor in for your accommodation

Be careful—rent isn’t the only cost you need to think about when you’re looking for your student accommodation. There are other costs which can weigh heavily on your overall budget. Don’t forget to include:

  • Costs linked to your security deposit (“caution” in French). This amount is often equivalent to one or two rent payments. If you sign a mobility lease, you won’t have to pay a deposit, though.
  • Rent charges. These are the costs related to the maintenance of the building and common areas. They usually come to between €30 and €50 per month.
  • Apartment charges. These are your bills for electricity, gas, and water. For smaller apartments, factor in around €30 to €50. The price will vary depending on the size of your apartment and  how well it’s insulated.
  • Internet. Allow between €20 and €50 for your internet connection.

When choosing a student apartment, be sure to ask which charges are included in the rent. Often, private university residences are more expensive than standard apartments, but they take all these costs into account, and the accommodation comes fully furnished—a major plus!

Learn more in our article on how to save money as a student.

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Are you a student? Manage your finances easily with N26

N26 lets you open a free online bank account in just a few minutes. Get real-time notifications to your phone every time you make a transaction. When you choose one of our N26 premium accounts, you can easily manage your rent payments if you’re sharing an apartment through Shared Spaces, which lets you put money aside with up to 10 people. 

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