France court rules against tuition fees rise for foreign students

France court rules against tuition fees rise for foreign students

The constitutional court of France has ruled against increasing tuition fees for non-EU foreign students, which would have seen fees rise over ten times for some courses.

France’s Conseil Constitutionnel (constitutional court) has ruled that free access to public higher education is a constitutional right in France.

This helps to protect foreign students coming to France against a proposed tuition fees hike.

This ruling strikes a blow to the French government who were intending to significantly hike the tuition fees of any foreign student from outside the EU who attends university in France.

France has some of the world’s lowest tuition fees for foreign students

Presently, any non-EU, overseas student pays the same tuition fees as French students, one of the world’s lowest: €170 per year of bachelor’s level study and €243 for master’s.

The low tuition fees are one of the features that have made France so attractive to overseas students looking to study abroad as it offers a stark contrast to countries such as the USA where it isn’t unusual for a single year’s tuition fees to run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

However, the Government of France is keen to increase the fees that they charge to foreign students to €2,770 for a bachelor’s degree and €3,770 for a master’s.

Officially these fees came into force at the start of the 2019/20 academic year, although many French universities are yet to implement them.

Many students and education leaders were unhappy with the change, leading to a number of public protests, with one group of students and professionals taking the case as high as the Conseil constitutionnel.

Whilst this latest ruling is a victory for the students in this protest group, some unanswered questions remain, particularly with the caveat that “modest” fees can still be levied.

Pic: Alice Triquet

Hari Srinivasan - Managing Editor, Global Education Times (GET News)

Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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