2 June 2020

Support our most vulnerable students

© Manuel Braun / Sciences Po

Because our most vulnerable students were the first to be affected by the Covid-19 crisis and its multiple repercussions, the Sciences Po teams mobilized from the very beginning of the pandemic to help those who needed it most.

Multiple forms of aid have been deployed: financial aid of course, but also academic, psychological, administrative, and even consular and political support for those of our 1,770 exchange students who found themselves in difficulty outside our borders.

Mobilizing the emergency social assistance fund

The mobilization of the emergency social assistance fund made it possible, during the first two months of the crisis, to support nearly 200 students facing difficulties such as:

  • the loss or suspension of internships or student jobs, which partly financed living expenses, rent or certain medical expenses;
  • repatriation, which required emergency air tickets, repatriation of personal belongings or international rental payments;
  • the need for hardware to participate in remote education: purchase or repair of a computer, purchase of 4G internet dongles, etc.;
  • being located in a country where the banks are closed and families cannot transfer funds;
  • the obligation to repay a loan, which is common among international students.

Deferral or reduction of tuition fees

In the face of the upheavals caused by the Covid-19 crisis, it is essential that no student, during the course of their studies or admission procedure, be forced to give up their studies at Sciences Po for financial reasons.

In April 2020 alone, more than 120 families benefited from a deferral of the deadline or an instalment plan for the payment of tuition fees. Reduction of tuition fees is also being considered for families that have undergone major changes in their economic circumstances: partial unemployment or furloughing, devaluation of certain currencies, the death of a parent.

The decline in the standard of living of many families will, at the beginning of next academic year, most likely lead to a sharp drop in Sciences Po’s income from tuition fees, indexed to family income, and an increase in expenses linked to awarding scholarships.

Other forms of support

In addition to financial aid, the Sciences Po teams have mobilized to support students according to their needs, in all their diversity and uniqueness.

Concerning student health, for example, more than 1,500 teleconsultations in general medicine, psychology and psychiatry have been provided at students’ request.

The ongoing academic support has been essential to enabling the entire student body to follow the courses moved online from the second half of March, and to enable our exchange students at our 480 partner universities to continue their studies at a distance.

Finally, the International Affairs Division liaised with the French authorities, the Quai d’Orsay crisis unit and embassies, to support students stranded in their countries of residence following the sudden closure of borders.