I have been following your website continuously and almost daily, and I hope that Allah will grant you the best of rewards on behalf of the Muslim ummah.
I am a student and I have been sent by my country to study for my Masters and Ph.D., and I receive a stipend from the Syrian university that sent me to France. When I got to France, those who had been sent previously told me that the French government gives financial assistance to students, in the form of a percentage of housing costs only. In order to get this assistance, you have to submit a document from your country’s embassy in France showing the stipend that you get. I asked my embassy to give me this document, and the amount written on the paper was a little less than the amount of money I get from my university. I told the embassy that the stipend shown was less, but they answered by telling me that this is the amount that they show for all of the students who are sponsored so that they would not have to pay taxes and because of the fluctuation in the price of the euro from one day to another. I submitted the papers a few days ago so that I could get this assistance but I have not received it yet. Is getting assistance in this manner haraam, and if it is haraam, what must I do, because I cannot get anything from the embassy except this paper. We hope that you will make du‘aa’ for us that we remain steadfast in this country.
Praise be to Allaah.
There is nothing wrong with getting assistance from the state if the conditions set out for that are applicable to you.
If the shortfall in your stipend will not affect your entitlement to assistance or its amount, then there is nothing wrong with that.
But if it will affect the amount, then you should look at what you are entitled to and take that only, and return the rest.
If you cannot return it, then you should donate it to the university where you are studying, or to some other public body.
And Allah knows best.