Number of International Students in France Grew by 23% in Last 10 Years

Student mobility worldwide has increased by 77 per cent over the last ten years, reaching 5 million in 2016.

At the same time, the number of international students studying in France increased by 23 per cent. According to Campus France data, due to a higher increase of international students studying abroad at the same time, there was a decrease in France’s share in international mobility, from 9 to 5 per cent.

However, a report published by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, has revealed that the number of international students in educational institutions in France increased by 19 per cent during the past five years. This number multiplied by 2.1 per cent in 18 years.

There are several well-known universities and colleges across the country, each offering quality education and opportunities for students to develop academically, Erudera College News reports.

In addition to receiving quality education, in France, students can get to meet different cultures as the country is known for its diversity, with 13 per cent of the student population in France being foreign.

According to Project Atlas data, 343,386 international students were enrolled at French universities during 2018.

Top Nationalities of International Students in France Between 2017- 2018

Between 2017 and 2018, 39,855 international students in France came from Morocco, followed by 30,521 coming from Algeria, 30,072 from China, 13,341 from Italy, and 12,842 international students came from Tunisia.

Several countries experienced a change during the period of 2012-2017. The changes include:

  • India had a 90 per cent increase in the number of international students.
  • Côte d’Ivoire with 80 per cent increase
  • Italy with 58 per cent increase
  • Portugal with 51 per cent increase
  • Congo with 45 per cent increase

Whereas, the countries where a decrease in the number of international students was noted include: 

  • China: 1 per cent
  • Germany:  4 per cent
  • Cameroon: 7 per cent
  • Vietnam: 11 per cent
  • Romania: 10 per cent

113,629 Student Visas Issued for International Students

In 2017, France granted 113,629 student visas for academic study or internships, including both, short and long stays, 86 per cent of which were issued for long-stay study. At the same time, 4 per cent of visas were issued for internships.

African students were the ones who benefited the most, as 41 per cent of long-stay visas were issued for them. The biggest increase in visa issuance took place between 2015 and 2017 in the Middle East and North Africa.

Regarding the regions, 80 per cent of international students are enrolled in 6 out of 18 France’s regions, including:

  • Île-de-France
  •  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
  • Occitanie
  • Grand Est
  • Hauts-de-France
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine

The highest number of international students was in Île-de-France, and Grand Est as these two regions are considered the home of Paris and Strasbourg academies.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 (THE) listed five French higher education institutions in the top 200 best universities in the world.

According to France’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, international students are considered those individuals who belong to different nationalities and enrol in a post-secondary program for at least one year, leading to a degree.

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