Around 30 French towns and cities have put in place schemes offering low-cost housing to students in return for them helping local children with their studies after school.
The schemes offer cut-price HLM (social housing) flats for students willing to provide a few hours of soutien scolaire (tutoring or help with homework), or in some cases other help in the home, such as assisting the elderly.
France 2 television recently showed the example of Clémentine, a student at the prestigious grande école Sciences Po, who has a 36m2 flat in the 20th arrondissement for €489/month instead of a market price of more than €1,000.
In return she carries out four hours of tutoring at a local after-school activity club called la Maison des Fougères. She told France 2: “Their parents don’t necessarily have the means to pay for private tutors so in addition of the rent I feel that I’m making myself useful.”
One child said: “Clémentine makes me feel all the more motivated to succeed.”
Around 30 Sciences Po students (all of them people who benefit from means-tested grants), are among those taking part in the scheme run by the Paris mairie. When social housing tenants leave their flats, some of them are set aside for students on the scheme. The mairie says they partly do it to promote social diversity.