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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Étudiants archi-endettés

by Gauthier Lahore, 21, Champigny-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne), France

French Architecture Students in Debts

Translated Tuesday 6 April 2010, by Jonathan Pierrel and reviewed by Henry Crapo

You are more likely to find them hanging around the schools. It is over a coffee with a smoke that one of them describes their everyday life, one that we don’t really know.

These students did not have a chance to enter one of the public schools of architecture. What difference does this make to the cost of their education? Between 6,000 and 8,000 Euros: this is the price to pride oneself in being an interior architecture student.

What is the difference between studying “interior” architecture and studying architecture? Between 18,000 and 24,000 Euros, since you need five years of study to get your first diploma, and eight for the second one. An obvious thing to do would be to get into one of those rare public schools of architecture. Although a great many student attempt to enter those every year, they generally end up choosing private schools, such as “ESAM Design” or “Charpentier,” two private schools in Paris.

Those schools take a certain pride in having a special pedagogy, but do they really play by the rules? For those who can afford the tuition fees, good for them. For the others, the adventure is always the same: find a part-time job to pay the imposed fee every month (around 800 Euros), or get a 0 APR loan in the best of the scenarios. Or I should say: how to start your life with a 25,000 Euro loan to pay back … Appealing, isn’t it?

Of course, there are always graduates from those schools that stand out, but what about the others? Far from adopting a fatalistic look on the situation, one cannot help noticing that autonomy does not exist among students. There is no doubt that the cost of living increases year after year: transportation, accommodation, health, etc. Will this observation go from bad to worse in the coming years? Unless alternatives are put into place …

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