Back-to-school allowance 2023 in France: all you need to know

As the 4th of September approaches and the school year kicks off in France, there is much to look forward to, but it can be an expensive time for parents. That’s why the French government helps around 3 million families to manage back-to-school costs by providing a back-to-school allowance to eligible families.

What is back-to-school allowance?

The back-to-school allowance, known as l’allocation de rentrée scolaire in France (or simply “ARS“), is a grant paid to families living in France long-term with children aged 6 to 18 who attend public or private school. It aims to help families cover back-to-school costs, such as school supplies, materials, or clothing. The benefits are means-tested, and eligibility is based on overall household income. This year, 5 to 6 million children aged 6 to 18 will benefit from state aid for the start of the school year.

This bundle of school stationery supplies below for my daughter in CE1 class cost me €167. On top of this, you have the cost of a new backpack, new clothes, shoes and so on. The price of supplies has increased by more than 10% compared to 2022, and many households feel the pinch.

school supplies

When is the back-to-school allowance paid?

The ARS is traditionally paid during August, and in 2023 this payment was made on the 16th of August.

How much do you get?

The 2023 allowance amounts to the following:

  • Child from 6 to 10 years old: €398.09
  • Child from 11 to 14 years old: €420.05
  • Child from 15 to 18 years old: €434.61

Who qualifies to get it?

The Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (“CAF”) pays the grant directly to eligible households. To check if you can get the ARS, CAF will look at your income from two years ago. So, to see if you can get the ARS for the 2023 school year, they’ll look at what you earned in 2021.

The allowance is paid by CAF to households whose net taxable income is below the following ceilings:

  • €25,775 for a household with one dependent child,
  • €31,723 for two dependent children,
  • 37,671 for three dependent children,
  • €43,619 for four dependent children,
  • then €5,948 per additional child.

If your resources slightly exceed the ceilings, a differential back-to-school allowance may be paid to you based on your income.

How do you get the back-to-school allowance?

If you’re already a CAF beneficiary

If you already receive benefits from CAF and your child is aged 6 to 15 when the school year starts, there is nothing for you to do. The ARS is paid to you automatically.

If your child is under six years old and is entering CP class, you must send CAF a school certificate.

If the child is between 16 and 18 years old, you must declare that the child is still in school or learning at the start of the 2023 school year in the “My Account” area on the CAF website.

If you’re not a CAF beneficiary

You must first create your personal Mon Compte (My Account) on the CAF website which you can do by clicking HERE. After submitting the relevant information about your household resources, you can apply for the back-to-school allowance. CAF will review your application and pay you the allowance if you meet the criteria. You can still do this after the start of the school year.

Read How do I sign up my child for a French school? and Making sense of French school holidays to learn more about how French schools work.

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