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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Vie d’étudiant, vie de chien !

by Magdalena Opalinska, Caroline Pécriaux and Priscilla Wolmer

Students Live A Dog’s Life!

Translated Sunday 23 March 2008, by Gene Zbikowski

Young correspondents on the lack of adequate scholarships in France.

One student out of five drops out because of unfavorable pedagogic and economic conditions. A college education is expensive and 800,000 students (out of 2.2 million in France) have to find a job to survive. The stress of work comes on top of the lack of time needed to study. How is one to break this vicious circle? There are scholarships, but they are for the few, as Eva, a 24-year-old junior studying history at the University of Saint-Denis (Paris-VIII), found out. “I’m an only daughter. My parents’ monthly income is 2300 euros but, according to the criteria for obtaining a scholarship, they make too much. As a consequence I’ve been working for the past five years in a superstore, but it’s hard to study your class notes when you get home from work at 10:30 p.m.”

According to a 2006 study done by the Observatory on Student Life, only 29.5% of French students benefit from a social criteria-based government scholarship. So many work in the underground economy to meet their needs. Others decide to skimp on health expenses — 15% of all students cannot afford to see a doctor.

Some students even turn to prostitution. According to the SUD Etudiant student union, 40,000 young people have quit being a student and plunged into the downward spiral of sex for cash. This is appalling. To quote a Paris-VIII student, Paris is bogged down in chaos, the bourgeois are thriving in Passy, and fragile silhouettes cluster on the asphalt. What a dog’s life!”

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