Feb 18th, 2019, 03:41 PM

Higher Tuitions in Paris Results in Fewer International Students

By Matthias Cloppenburg
Image Credit: Jeanne Menjoulet
The rise of tuition for international students in Paris is causing outrage amongst the Erasmus community.

The French government has announced an increase in fees for non-European students in French universities by the 19 of September 2019, creating an outcry during which the number of non-EU foreign applications have dropped by 10% for next year, says Campus France. By September 2019, the price of attending university in France for students from outside the European Union will rise from €170 to €2,770, a jump of 16 times the current fees. According to Campus France,  the number of foreign students outside the European Union who are applying for a bachelor's degree at a university in France is down by 10% for the next school year.

The French government has announced an increase in registration fees for non-EU students. The prices of the tuition are increasing for international students in order for the French government to increase their economic budget on education in France. By increasing the tuition costs, the French government hopes to attract wealthier international students willing to spend their tuition money and more money in France. This would allow the French economic system to grow stronger. From the start of the September 2019 academic year, non-EU students will have to pay €2,770 for a Bachelor's degree and €3,770 to get into a Master's and PhD program, compared to €170 for a year of undergraduate training, €243 for a master's degree and €380 for a doctorate for young students in France.

REPORTAGE - #MardiNoir notre journaliste Louis Heidsieck suit depuis ce matin la manifestation des lycéens et étudiants contre #Parcoursup , la réforme du bac, le service national universel, la hausse des frais d’inscription à la fac pour les étudiants étrangers... Début de la manifestation ce matin depuis la place Saint-Michel. En référence à Mantes-la-Jolie, les jeunes se sont assis en pleine rue mains sur la tête. Le cortège a ensuite avancé en passant par la rue d’Assas, Rue du Bac et rue de Grenelle, l’occasion de discuter avec les manifestants pendant la marche : 📸3 Yacine, en seconde au lycée Le Corbusier d’Aubervilliers: « On n’a pas assez d’infos sur les réformes en cours. Ce qu’on sait c’est qu’avec le nouveau bac, on sera hyperspecialisés dès la première, alors qu’avant avec Les filières c’était plus général». 📸5 Léo, étudiant de Nanterre, a passé son brevet de secourisme pour aider les blessés dans ce genre de manifs. « Pour l’instant y’en a 0 et on est RA-VIS » dit il avant de partir en courant, à l’affût, casque à la main. 📸6 Les profs aussi sont sur la manif, comme Capucine et Pierre, profs d’histoire géo au lycée Jean Jaurès de Montreuil: « Blanquer dit qu’on manipule nos élèves pour les pousser à manifester, mais c’est faux et dangereux dire ça » Ils disent être là pour « accompagner ». ©️Photos @heidsiecklouis #paris #bac #reforme #manifestation #lyceens #etudiants

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Thanks to this increase, the government will directly use these funds to improve the well-being of international students in French universities by making simple services, such as visas, housing, healthcare, and scholarships more easily available. By 2027, the French government aims to bring in over 500,000 foreign students each year, compared to the 300,000 foreign students currently. By raising the prices the French government believes that the international students from wealthier backgrounds will be able to contribute more to the French economy. 

According to Campus France, non-EU international foreign students cost France €3 billion per year each year but ultimately the French government earns back €4.65 billion a year. By increasing the prices for non-EU international foreign students, the French government will be able to make more money due to the increased fees. By implementing this new cost of attendance for non-EU students, this will especially hurt international students trying to study in France. There are five million students or 2.3% of the world’s student population that study in a foreign university system. Among this elite, 343,000 come to France,” says the public agency for the promotion abroad of French higher education. “France is at the heart of Europe, it is the sixth largest economy in the world, our research is recognized with 62 Nobel Prizes and attracts people from all continents", says Béatrice Khaiat, Executive Director of Campus France. 

Edouard Philippe MSC 2018
Édouard Phillipe at the MSC Conference. Image credits: Mueller/MSC

Édouard Philippe, the French Prime Minister, commented upon the matter, "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". 

The French government has focused on these increased tuition prices which only represent “one-third of the genuine expenses” of the courses, with the rest being paid by the French State. The French Prime Minister tweeted, “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 French administration has likewise said it will triple the number of university scholarships from 7,000 to 21,000, and that there will also be 14,000 further scholarships focused on students from developing countries. As indicated by the French government alongside alternate grants, one in every four university students will be able to meet all the requirements for a scholarship. 

Édouard Philippe defended his point by stating that, “while the fees might seem expensive, they are far lower than an international student would expect to pay to go to university in the U.K. where prices vary but can be upwards of £10,000 (€11,247) per year”. Meanwhile, in the United States, higher education is famously expensive. Especially for international students, who are categorized as 'out-of-state' students would need to pay an average of $24,930 (€21,834) per year in 2016/17.

Regardless, FAGE and UNEF, student unions, are emphatically against the move, contending that this is a method for "selective students that can study by the measure of cash they have," and that France will finish up "denying itself of gifted students who essentially can't manage the cost of the new fees". There is no uncertainty that the declaration about the increasing expense of charges will have come as an astonishment to many, with the government really wanting to support the number of international students in France. France is the most well-known non-English speaking nation for international students, and the fourth most prominent nation on the planet behind the U.S., the U.K., and Australia for foreign students planning to study abroad.


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Édouard Philippe wants to offer a more progressive French university system that is alluring to worldwide undergraduates, especially students from Asia. This will allow the visa application process to become less complex. Right now in France, 24 percent of international students originate from Africa, 19,6 percent from the European Union, 15.6 percent from Asia, 18,6 percent from America, and 11,2 percent from the Middle East. Campus France predicts a stagnation of the number of 18-30-year-old international students by 2025. Campus France predicts a -10% in Europe, -7% in Asia, -2% in North America, and the biggest significant decrease in their numbers will decrease by 19% in Africa if the tuition price increases.

The decision to increase tuition fees for non-European students will continue to provoke outrage. After the student protests at the end of 2018, several universities announced that they would not increase the rates in 2019, such as the Paris-Nanterre University. Students blocked their school from rising university fees for non-EU students in December 2018. The students mobilized and protested against the increase in registration fees for non-EU students, “It's the spark that triggered the movement,” said Pierre Durand, a student at Paris-Nanterre University, who is an undergraduate in history, and a student volunteer at the UNEF. "This is a measure, not only anti-foreign but also anti-poor," he said,  fearing in the end "rising tuition fees for all."