A new legal ruling in France looks to have scuppered plans to significantly hike tuition fees to anyone from outside the EU who attends university in the country.
At present, overseas students from outside the EU (which will include the UK after Brexit) pay the same tuition fees as French students – 170 euros a year for a Bachelor’s degree and 243 euros for a Master’s.
Last month, though, the French Government introduced new measures to increase fees for foreign students to 2,770 euros for a Bachelor’s degree and 3,770 euros for a Master’s. However, the announcement was met with widespread displeasure from students and education leaders and, so far, many French universities have so far not implemented them.
In fact, just seven out of 75 universities charged foreign students the new rates when they went into force in September.
And it now appears that they may not have to. France’s Conseil constitutionnel (constitutional court) ruled on Friday that free access to public higher education is a constitutional right in France.
The court ruled that “the constitutional requirement of free admission applies to public higher education” in the same way that free primary and secondary education is guaranteed under French law.
Attention now turns to France’s supreme administrative court, the Council of State, which is expected to make its own decision on fees for foreign students in the coming months.
France has long been a popular destination for international students, and the French government has placed a target of attracting half-a-million foreign students to its universities by 2027.
Article published 15th October 2019