How France plans to attract more international students

The French government is preparing to introduce a series of measures in a bid to attract more international students to France, including simplified visa procedures and reforms to university fees.

How France plans to attract more international students
Photo: AFP
France is the fourth most popular country in the world for international students, with thousands of Americans, Brits and Australians coming here to study every year. 
Nevertheless, the number of foreign students in France, which sits at the 343,000 mark, dropped by 8.1 percent between 2010 and 2015. 
And even though these figures have improved in recent years, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is preparing to announce a series of measures in a bid to make French universities more attractive attractive to international students.  
France has made efforts in recent years to attract more students, notably allowing more courses to be taught in English at universities.
But the French government believes that the possible negative impact of Brexit on the UK and the anti-immigration agenda of American president Donald Trump means the conditions are favourable for France to steal a march on its rivals.

Who are all these international students in France and where do they study?


France will simplify its visa procedure to enable international students to get the relevant permit to study in France.

Tuition fees
The French government plans to reform tuition fees in French universities for students outside of the European Union who account for about 100,000 of the foreign students currently in France.
At the same time, scholarship programs “will be considerably strengthened” although so far there have been no details on how this will be done.  
Students from within the EU will continue to pay the same fees as French students, in accordance with European ruled and the government also plans to simplify the procedures for obtaining a student visa. 
More French campuses abroad
France also plans to increase the number of campuses its universities have abroad just like the Franco-Tunisian University of Africa and the Mediterranean (UFTAM) announced by French President Emmanuel Macron which will start courses in 2019-2020.
France continues to attract a large majority of African students but hopes that by growing its representation abroad it will be able to attract students from other places around the world, including Asia. 
The government wants to increase the number of courses taught in English.
According to the most recent statistics published by Campus France, an online portal run by the French government of the roughly five million international students in the world in 2018, 343,000 of them studied in France.
With nearly 7 percent of the total, France ranks behind the United States, United Kingdom and Australia but remains first in terms of non-English speaking destinations.
However it faces fierce and growing competition for its spot with countries such as Germany, Russia, China, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
According to Campus France, foreign students cost France three billion euros a year but brings in 4.65 billion euros.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.