France: Government wants to welcome 500,000 foreign students by 2027

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented & oacute this monday november 19th a plan to promote the attractivit & eacute; French universities. He proposes to facilitate the obtaining of visas, to offer ...

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A student in a class room at Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University. STEPHANE OF SAKUTIN / AFP

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented Monday, November 19 a plan to promote the attractiveness of French universities. It plans to make it easier to obtain visas, to offer better access to scholarships, the opening of campuses abroad, but also the increase of tuition fees for non-European students.

France can do better. This is the message that the Prime Minister wanted to pass this Monday in Paris at the University Meetings of La Francophonie. With 320,000 foreigners every year, France is the fourth host country for international students after the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. However, France is at risk of dropping out. Between 2010 and 2015, university enrollment of foreign students fell by 8% and countries such as Germany, Russia, China, Canada and even Saudi Arabia hit France by multiplying attractiveness to form the best brains on the planet.

" Our goal: to win the battle of international competition by hosting the brightest and most deserving students, whether they come from Beijing or Kinshasa, whether they study artificial intelligence or medieval linguistics, " detailed Edouard Philippe. Called "Welcome to France", the plan unveiled by Matignon aims to facilitate obtaining visas through simplified online procedures, to create a label for hosting foreign students for higher education institutions and to develop campuses in other countries. A fund of 5 and 20 million euros is planned for the establishment of French campuses abroad.

Among the flagship announcements of the government is the tripling of the number of scholarships. 14,000 exemption scholarships will be created aimed mainly at students from developing countries. A measure funded by the increase in registration fees. In short, the foreign students who have the means will pay for those who have the least

Tuition fees will increase dramatically

Today, non-European students, around 100,000 in France, have to pay the same fees as French students. From September 2019, they will have to pay 2,770 euros in license and 3,770 euros in master and doctorate, one-third of the real cost of a student for the state budget. These additional revenues should be used to finance the exemption scholarships but also to improve the teaching and reception of these students.

According to the government, this new strategy operates a form of revolution by making " that our attractiveness is no longer partly based on near-gratuity (...) but on a real choice, a real desire, that of excellence ", has argues the Prime Minister. However, Edouard Philippe wanted to relativize this increase which worries the student unions. Coming to France will continue to cost less than in the United Kingdom or the United States, where tuition fees at the university are in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The government wants to welcome 500,000 foreign students by 2027, nearly 200,000 more than today. The goal seems ambitious but the context is favorable: between the drastic migration policy of Donald Trump and the effects of the Brexit expected next March, the Hexagon could well stand out in this fight for the formation of the elites of tomorrow.


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