Foreign students: France downgraded to fifth place

Posted Feb 14 2020 at 9:00 amUpdated Feb 14. 2020 at 11.36 am

loses ground in welcoming international students

   . The Hexagon, which still ranked third in the world in 2011, is now only in fifth place. He lost his fourth place to Germany, according to
the study

    of the promotion agency for higher education Campus France, revealed by the specialized media
News Tank

   . The leading trio does not budge: the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

"Slower internationalization"

increase in registration fees for foreign students announced by Edouard Philippe

   , end of 2018, does not explain this decline in any way, since this ranking is based on figures from 2017. Campus France also relativizes this decline, due to "A gap of around 500 students with Germany". But the good result obtained across the Rhine is the fruit of"A strategy that works well, with a multiplication of the number of courses in English and concentration on certain large universities to be clearly visible in the rankings", we admit to Campus France.

This fourth French place is also "A reflection of growth slower than that of very dynamic competing countries" like Australia, China, Russia or Turkey, writes the director general of Campus France, Béatrice Khaiat. France has experienced a "Slower internationalization" than other countries. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of students admitted to France increased by 32%, while the number of mobile students worldwide increased by 71%.

The proportion of international students present in France, however, remains higher than that of the United States, Germany or even Russia. During the 2018-2019 academic year, 358,000 foreign students were welcomed in France, i.e. + 4.3% in one year.

A majority of African students

Over the 2013-2018 period, the number of Moroccan, Algerian and Ivorian students registered a sharp increase. Among the students present in France, 46% are from Africa, and one in four is European. "Indian, Russian, Chinese students will be more numerous and will have to be more", said Emmanuel Macron in March 2018.

However, the Chinese are turning away from France, with an evolution of -6% for five years and a downward trend which has been accentuated since 2017 (-5% in one year). France has, of course, "Reverse steam" with Indian students, according to Campus France, with + 130% in five years, but the workforce remains modest (5,600 students).

What will be the evolution next year, with figures that will integrate the increase in tuition fees for foreign students
which has been criticized so much

   ? The government has
bet on a “measured foreclosure effect”

   . At Campus France, we take the German example of Baden-Württemberg which, after increasing its registration fees, experienced "A drop in foreign students in the first year, then a return to normal".

New call for projects to Africa

The agency highlights the other components of the "Welcome to France" strategy, with more courses in English (1,600 in 2019) and "The birth of a culture of hospitality in France, which was hitherto underdeveloped", whose "We are starting to see the effects". A 10 million euro call for projects has given resources to certain establishments to improve their reception and internationalization policy.

Another call for projects, of a higher amount, is to be announced in March. It will be launched by the French Development Agency with the National Research Agency and Campus France, to finance five to ten partnerships between French and African establishments. It is not certain that this is enough to limit the decline in French influence. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia combined already attract more African students than France.