What are the CROUS Elections?

The CROUS elections are a part of the system of limited student government in France. In each CROUS, the body that governs student life in France, seven student representatives are elected to participate in decisions in the Crous Administrative Council, on various committees (special assistance, cultural, catering, and accommodation committees, among others) and, more generally, on all committees and working groups dealing with the various missions of the CROUS.

This means that these students are involved in the planning of various functions of the CROUS such as events, university lunches, CROUS housing, and the like. Additionally, the 187 CROUS representatives elected around France also vote to elect their eight representatives at the national level of the network of works: the CNOUS Administrative Council.

It is, however, worth mentioning that student representation in the CROUS is the minority in the Administrative Council. In Reims, student representatives make up a third of the Administrative council, sitting alongside “six representatives of the French State, two higher education representatives, three staff representatives, three representatives of communes and public establishments for inter-communal cooperation, one regional representative, and four qualified personalities,” according to the CROUS website.

Who was contesting them?

This year the CROUS elections in Reims were contested by four student groups: AER, UNEF, UNI, and FAGE. While the lists ran on very similar policy platforms, there were some key differences in the policies presented. All photos and information are taken from the lists’ official accounts, however, to find out more details, consult their own Instagrams and pamphlets.


Founded in 1907, UNEF is the oldest student union in France. Active both in protests and in student government, they are explicitly political in their opposition to various laws of the French government such as the recent laws on immigration, pension reform, and the creation of the SNU. Additionally, they have been involved in protests against racism, Gender based violence, and the death of Nahel.

UNEF did not contest the CROUS elections last year and therefore doesn’t have an election record. However, this year they have run on a “Progressive, Feminist, and Ecologist Platform.” Their policies include €1 meals at CROUS for all, the construction of 150,000 new student apartments, and a monthly grant of €1,200 per student. 



Founded in 1969 in response to the student protests of 1968, UNI has been the student union of the right since its inception. In addition to its activities in the CROUS, it is active in right-wing protest movements and wheatpasting against blocages, the left, immigration, and Macron. However, it is not currently active on Sciences Po’s Reims campus.

This year UNI ran as the “eight-wing of students.” Its policies include the creation of a €6.60 CROUS voucher to spend in supermarkets in Reims, the introduction of CROUS dinners, the introduction of “local beers” to the CROUS, the renovation of CROUS apartments, and fighting against bursary fraud.


FAGE is the only non-union list contesting the elections in Reims. Avowedly “non-political,” it represents student associations. However, it has been present in anti-SNU and anti-VSS protests. While not present on the Sciences Po’s Reims campus, it was previously the largest student organisation in the CROUS. 

This year, it has campaigned on policies such as €1 CROUS meals for all, the improvement of CROUS residences, and climate justice. However, there has been some controversy over its abstention from the vote to reduce the price of CROUS meals to €1 last year. Additionally, the application of a non-political stance raises some questions about how they will vote when in the Administrative Council.


AER is Reims’s newest student union, having been formed last year. Running on an anti-racist, feminist, ecologist, and anti-capitalist platform, it is highly politically involved. While not associated with any party, AER has been associated with many left-wing movements such as strikes against the French government’s pension reform, solidarity with Kurds in Reims, and protests against Zemour’s speaking in Reims, among many others. 

This year, in its first CROUS election, AER has campaigned on policies such as €1 CROUS meals for all, an increase in the number of bursaries, and an “independent income” of €1158 per month for all students, evening meals at the CROUS, and policies to prevent discrimination and increase access to CROUS residences. At the national level AER is associated with l’Union Etudiante, which will guide their votes for the CNOUS.

What were the results?

The results showed a resounding victory for the left with the seats going to AER and one to UNEF. UNI maintained its one seat and FAGE dropped from four seats to two (with the other association list, CROUS Ensemble, not contesting the elections). This makes AER, a student union that has only existed for just over a year, the largest student list in the Administrative Council. 

Regarding the election we reached out to all the lists for comment and received the following responses from AER and UNI:


“We are proud of the retention of our elected representatives on the CROUS Council and we are ready to continue the projects carried out for more than four years now. Our number of votes continues to increase — it is very encouraging and we thank the students for their trust.

We remain vigilant despite everything in the face of the rise of the extreme left on campus.”


“We are really glad to gain a majority of seats in our first participation. The time is now to use this to fight for students’ social rights as we are able to reach the CROUS vice student presidency and rebuild this public service. However, the far right managed to keep their seat, so we must remain careful and remember that they are the main enemy of social rights.”

And why?

While this election had record turnout, this was from a very low base. Election turnout was 12.72 percent, three times higher than the last election, but still only a small minority of students. The Reims election comes in the context of a left-wing wave in CROUS elections in France, with L’Union Etudiante becoming the largest CROUS list. 

CROUS elections, as with all elections, come down to a number of convening factors. Without any coverage by established media or polling agencies, we can only guess as to what these factors may have been. However, in Reims, the focused campaigning of AER to mobilise its base likely played a large role, as well as dissatisfaction with the current student representatives. Nationally, the rise of the left was no doubt helped by the splitting of right-wing students between UNI and Cocarde Etudiante in many areas, though Cocarde Etudiante is not active in Reims.

The challenge is now twofold. Firstly, for student representatives to maintain interest in CROUS actions. But, secondly and perhaps more importantly, for the student body to keep their representatives accountable. As someone who has just written an article on this maze of bureaucracy, this is undoubtedly a challenge. Yet the councils that our representatives sit on have a direct and massive influence on our lives, and the lives of all students to come.


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