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President Macron’s invite: What Indian students should know about France as a study abroad destination

Jan 26, 2024 01:51 PM IST

With President Macron reiterating that France is willing to welcome 30,000 Indian students by 2030, the focus is now on France as an destination for Indian.

France is internationally known for being the centre of arts, philosophy and culture and its universities are much sought-after by international students. Globally, France ranks 8th and 5th in Europe among the world’s top study destinations. Currently, there are 250,000 international students in France, including a total of 10,000 Indian students. With the French President Emmanuel Macron reiterating that the country is ready to welcome 30,000 Indian students by 2030, let’s take a look as France as an attractive study destination for Indian students.

France has a large number of higher education programmes available, accessible to foreign students whether they speak French or not.(HT PHOTO.)

France has a large number of higher education programmes available, accessible to foreign students whether they speak French or not - there are more than 3,500 public and private institutes of higher education in France: 72 universities, 25 multi-institute campuses, 271 Doctoral schools, 227 engineering schools authorised to award the title of engineer, 220 business and management schools, 45 post-secondary public schools of art, 22 schools of architecture and 3,000 private schools and institutes. More than 1,200 classes are provided in English.

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The acronym FUN, for France Université Numérique (Digital University France), refers to the first French online course platform that provides nearly 300 courses from over 80 institutes, with enrolment near the one million mark (Source: Campus France).

Visa: Among the many advantages of studying in France is the streamlined visa process, including the 5-year short-stay Schengen visa for postgraduates. The visa process is relatively straightforward, with short-term visa taking around 6 days and long-term visa up to 1-month, with moderate fees.

Cost of Studies: Tuition fees are low in public higher education institutions because the French government subsidises higher education. The true cost of education is the same as it is elsewhere in the world - around €10,000 a year. The difference is that in France the government assumes a large share of that cost, according to Campus France.

Non EU-students: Non European Union (EU) students are required to pay differentiated registration fees if:

• Enrolling for the 1st time for a Bachelor's or Master's degree, or for an engineering programme;

• Within a higher education establishment that falls within the scope of the MESR;

• Provided the student is not permanently settled in France.

The state will thus cover two-thirds of the cost of studies. The total registration fee that the student will be required to pay is:

• €2,770 per year at the licence (bachelor) level

• €3,770 per year at the master level

If you enrol in a degree at Doctorate level, the French government will assume most of the cost of your education until you complete your degree programme. Non-EU doctoral students are not subject to new differentiated tuition fees.

Scholarships for international students: Campus Bourses (Campus Scholarships) provides information on the scholarships offered to foreign students and lists all of the assistance provided by the States (French and foreign), regional authorities, companies, foundations and institutes of higher education. Filter your search by nationality, field and level of studies to find the relevant scholarships.

The Foreign Ministry Scholarships: The French Foreign Ministry awards many different scholarships to foreign students. 25% of these scholarships are directly financed by the Ministry in the framework of Eiffel (for Master's or Doctoral level studies) or Major programmes (for the best foreign students who have graduated from French high schools abroad). The rest are provided by France embassies abroad.

Level of French required for international students: If you are taking a course provided in English, French is not required. Nonetheless, the institution in question may test your level of English.

If you are taking courses in French, you will have to present a document attesting to the level of French proficiency that can be obtained by sitting an official French examination or test, such as the DELF, the DALF, the TCF or the TEF. The common reference is that of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Level B1 or B2 is recommended for studying at the undergraduate and Master's level, and especially in the humanities and social sciences. Level B2 is required for admission to first year in the framework of the DAP (demande d’admission préalable - preliminary request for admission). Some French institutes of higher education may require a higher level, C1 or C2, for specific programmes.

Foreign students who have received a French high school diploma in an AEFE (Agence pour l’Enseignement du Français à l’Etranger - the Agency for French Education Abroad) institution are exempt.

Medium of Instruction: The official and mandatory language of instruction in France is French and most academic programs at universities and educational institutions are conducted in French. However, there are also English-taught programs available, especially at the postgraduate level.

Top Universities (according to QS University World Ranking 2024)

1. Université PSL (Paris): Rank: 24. Overall score: 85.8

2. Institut Polytechnique de Paris (Palaiseau Cedex): Rank: 38. Overall score: 79.5

3. Sorbonne University (Paris): Rank: 59. Overall Score: 71.7

4. Université Paris-Saclay (Gif-sur-Yvette): Rank: 71. Overall score: 67.6

5. École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (Lyon): Rank: 184. Overall score: 47.6

6. Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech (Paris): Rank: 192 Overall score: 46.7

7. University Paris Cite (Paris): Rank: 236 Overall score: 41.1

8. University Grenoble Alpes (Grenoble): Rank: 294 Overall score: 35.6

9. University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne: Rank: 328 Overall score: 32.6

10. University de Montpellier: Rank: 328 Overall score: 29

Ranking by subject: In the Top 100 of each of the five main subjects, there are 21 French higher education institutions (QS World University Ranking):

• 3 institutions in Arts and Humanities: Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (Rank: 17), Sorbonne Université (Rank: 19), PSL Université (Rank: 61)

• 5 institutions in Engineering and Technology: Institut Polytechnique de Paris (Rank: 21), Université Paris Saclay (Rank: 22), PSL Université (Rank: 41), Sorbonne Université (Rank: 64), Grenoble INP (Rank: 93)

• 2 institutions in Life Science and Medicine: Sorbonne Université (Rank: 43), Université Paris Cité (Rank: 70)

• 6 institutions in Natural Science: Sorbonne Université (Rank: 13), PSL Université (Rank: 14), Université Paris Saclay (Rank: 19), Institut Polytechnique de Paris (Rank: 26), Université Grenoble Alpes (Rank: 70), Université Paris Cité (Rank: 72)

• 5 institutions in Social Science and Management: INSEAD (International school, Rank: 31), HEC Paris (Rank: 51), Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (Rank: 59), Sciences Po (Rank: 74), PSL Université (Rank: 79).

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