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STUDYING IN FRANCE

French university fees for non-EU students set to rocket

University fees for students outside of the EU, which would include Brits after Brexit, are set to shoot up by as much as 16 times the current cost, the French prime minister has announced.

French university fees for non-EU students set to rocket
Photo: AFP

The cost of attending a French university for students from outside the European Union is set to shoot up from €170 to €2,770 per year, a jump of 16 times the current fees, from autumn 2019.  

That means, with Britain set to leave the EU in March 2019, British students who want to attend a university in France could be paying thousands of euros every year to do so.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that at the moment a “wealthy foreign student pays the same tuition fees as a poor French student whose parents have lived, worked and paid taxes in France for years”.

At the moment a degree costs €170 per years while a masters costs €243 and a PhD costs €380 but once the change is introduced these fees will rise to €2,770 for a degree and €3,770 for the two higher qualifications.
 
The government has stressed that these increased fees still only represent “one third of the real cost” of the courses, with the rest paid for by the French State. 
 
“Our strategy: To carry out a kind of revolution so that our attractiveness is not so much founded on being nearly-free as on a true choice, a true desire, that of excellence. #WelcometoFrance,” the prime minister tweeted.
 
The government has also said it will triple the number of university scholarships from 7,000 to 21,000 and there will be 14,000 grants targeted mainly at students from developing countries. 
 
According to the government that means, along with the other grants already in place, one in four international students will qualify for a grant or scholarship.
 
Philippe defended a “strong but measured decision which will allow us to better welcome students who choose France.”
 
And while the fees might seem expensive, they are far lower than an international student would expect to pay to go to university in the UK where prices vary but can be upwards of £10,000 (€11,247) per year, according to reports
 
Meanwhile in the US, where higher education is notoriously expensive, international students — who are categorised as 'out-of-state' students — paid an average of $24,930 (€21,834per year in 2016/17.  
 
However student unions Fage and Unef are strongly against the move, arguing that this is a way of “selecting students by the amount of money they have” and that France will end up “depriving itself of talented students who simply cannot afford the fees”.
 
And there is no doubt the announcement about the rising cost of fees will have come as a surprise to many, with the government actually hoping to boost the number of foreign students in France.
 
France is the most popular non-English-speaking country for international students and the fourth most popular country in the world behind the US, the UK and Australia.
 
Nevertheless, the number of foreign students in France, which sits at the 343,000 mark, dropped by 8.1 percent between 2010 and 2015. The French government wants to boost that number to around 500,000.
 
And even though these figures have improved in recent years, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is hoping to increase the figures with a series of measures in a bid to make French universities more attractive to international students, including those from Asia.
 
These include making the visa application process simpler and creating more French campuses abroad. 
 
At the moment in France, 45 percent of foreign students come from Africa, 19 percent from the European Union, 16 percent from Asia, 9 percent from America and 4 percent from the Middle East.
 
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How France plans to attract more international studentsPhoto: AFP

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HEALTH

France to make period products free for students

The French government said on Tuesday it would make period products free for students, joining a global drive to end "period poverty" - the inability to pay for menstrual protection.

France to make period products free for students
Last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer free universal access to period products. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP

Higher Education Minister Frederique Vidal said that machines containing free tampons, sanitary towels and other period products would be installed in student residences and university health services in the coming weeks.

She added that the government aimed to make period protection “completely free of charge” for all by the start of the next academic year in September.

In November, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all, blazing a trail that inspired feminists and anti-poverty campaigners around the world to also take up the issue of period poverty.

In England, free period products are available in all primary and secondary schools – a move New Zealand said last week it too would implement.

In December, President Emmanuel Macron had promised to also address the issue of period poverty.

Commenting on the plight of homeless women, he noted that “the fact of having your period in the street and to not be able to buy something to protect yourself and preserve your dignity” added to the humiliation they suffered.

The move to make sanitary protection free for students comes amid a growing focus on youth poverty following shock images of food banks being swamped by hard-up students due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many students say they are struggling to make ends meet after losing part-time jobs in cafes and restaurants which have been closed for months due to the health crisis.

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