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France urged to charge foreign students fees

Oliver Gee · 28 Jan 2015, 13:41

Published: 28 Jan 2015 13:41 GMT+01:00

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A university education in France costs just annual an annual admin fee - no matter whether you're French, from the EU, or from further afield.
But a report published on Tuesday from France Stratégie, which is linked to Prime Minister Manuel Valls's office, may change all that. 
The report argued that while the increased international nature of higher education was an opportunity for France, it also posed a problem.
The opportunity, it argues, lies in the fact that there are so many international students choosing France. In 2012, 6.8 percent of the world's total foreign students were in Paris, enjoying established universities and a good quality education. 
The problem, however, is that France can't cope with the numbers. Around 200,000 non-EU students are expected to show up over the next ten years.
The authors of the report argue that if non-EU students were to be charged the full cost of the tuition, it would mean a boost of an estimated €850 million per year in revenue. These earnings would be entirely reinvested into measures such as additional scholarships for foreigners and better services for international students.
Campus France, the organisation working to attract young people from abroad to study in France, reported in November that international students give the French economy a massive boost already. 
The average exchange student shells out on average €11,000 a year on costs such as food and rent alone, contributing to the annual €4.65 billion they bring in annually. 
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Foreign students also earn money for French state coffers through tourism, when their families and friends come over to visit. Meanwhile, 41 percent of international students are working on the side, thereby contributing to health and pension insurance funds from which they rarely benefit, Campus France reports.
The November study showed that of the roughly 300,000 international students, 43 percent came from Africa, 26 percent from within Europe, 19 percent from Asia, and 8 percent from the middle east. 
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