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France:Higher Education Funding

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Overview France

Contents

France:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

France:Historical Development

France:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

France:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

France:Political and Economic Situation

France:Organisation and Governance

France:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

France:Lifelong Learning Strategy

France:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

France:Organisation of Private Education

France:National Qualifications Framework

France:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

France:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

France:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

France:Funding in Education

France:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

France:Higher Education Funding

France:Adult Education and Training Funding

France:Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

France:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:Primary Education

France:Organisation of Primary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

France:Assessment in Primary Education

France:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

France:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

France:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

France:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

France:Higher Education

France:Types of Higher Education Institutions

France:First Cycle Programmes

France:Bachelor

France:Short-Cycle Higher Education

France:Second Cycle Programmes

France:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

France:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

France:Adult Education and Training

France:Distribution of Responsibilities

France:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

France:Main Providers

France:Main Types of Provision

France:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

France:Teachers and Education Staff

France:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

France:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Management and Other Education Staff

France:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

France:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

France:Management Staff for Higher Education

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

France:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

France:Quality Assurance

France:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

France:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

France:Educational Support and Guidance

France:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

France:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

France:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

France:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

France:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

France:Mobility and Internationalisation

France:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Mobility in Higher Education

France:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

France:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

France:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

France:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

France:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

France:National Reforms in School Education

France:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

France:National Reforms in Higher Education

France:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

France:European Perspective

France:Legislation

France:Glossary

Funding

In 2014, 20.3% of the Dépense Intérieure d’Éducation (DIE - domestic expense on education) was allocated to public higher education. The State was still the main funder (67.9% of financing), followed by local authorities (10.7%), households (9.5%) and companies (8.8%) (L’État de l’École 2016).

The funding of higher education and research is written into the State budget. It is the subject of an "interministerial" mission with six ministries concerned, i.e. the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research, the Department of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, the Department of Economy, Industry and Digital technologies, the Department of Defense, the Department of Culture and Communication, and the Department of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forests.

This mission contains nine programmes each including several budgetary activities and credits, which are voted upon and renewed by Parliament based on the declared objectives and the results obtained in previous years according to the procedures set out by the LOLF.

Public research laboratories are partly financed by budget allocation to universities, public research bodies and financing agencies, including the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR – National Research Agency), and also receive other subsidies from French régions, charities, industry and Europe.


Financial Autonomy and Control

Following the enactment of law no.2007-1199 of 10 August 2007 (LRU), universities have been managing the whole of their budgets autonomously, and are also permitted to seek private funding. The State confers on them the management of payroll, the budget and strategy for the institution with, in return an evaluation of research, teaching and student professional integration. This evaluation is leaded by an independent Agency, the Haut Conseil d’Évaluation de la Recherche et de l’Enseingnement Supérieur (HCERES – High council of research and higher education).

Human resource management

Universities may decide to devote part of its private resources to recruiting contractual agents for fixed-term or permanent-employment contracts in order to fill technical or administrative posts and teaching and research posts. Universities may also decide to set up a profit-sharing scheme to improve staff remuneration. Universities also control the award of bonuses and compensations.

Private funds

The LRU gives universities the means to reinforce their private funds by seeking funding from public/private partners. This allows for donations from individuals or companies (in return for deducting part of it from income tax payments or company taxes) without the necessity of procedures of prior agreement by the Ministries of the Budget and Higher Learning.

Real-estate holdings

The LRU also authorises universities that request it to become owners of their personal and real-estate property. This transfer is done at no charge and can be accompanied by an agreement between the parties intended to secure these holdings.


Fees within Public Higher Education

Enrolment fees vary according to the type of higher learning institution, or the programme the student follows. 

Enrolment fees in higher learning institutions governed by the Ministry of Higher Learning and Research

Arrêté of July 22, 2016 defines the for higher learning institutions governed by the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research.

Rules about the accumulation of tuition fees

  • Students who enrol in several higher learning institutions during the same academic year in programmes leading to different degrees have to pay tuition fees to each of these institutions.
  • Students who enrol in a single institution to study for several diplomas must pay the first full tuition fees and the others at the reduced fee.

Bachelor degree course

The annual tuition fees for the “Licence” curriculum is set at €184, the reduced fees at €122. The national diplomas granted for studies leading to a Bachelor are the following: 

  • Capacité en droit (basic legal qualification);
  • Diplôme d'accès aux études universitaires (DAEU, diploma for access to university studies);
  • Diplôme d'études universitaires scientifiques et techniques (DEUST, diploma of scientific and technical university studies);
  • Diplôme universitaire de technologie (DUT, technology university diploma);
  • Diplôme national de technologie spécialisé (DNTS, national diploma of specialist technology); 
  • Diplôme national de guide-interprète national (national diploma for national guide-interpreter);
  • Licence;
  • Licence professionnelle (vocational BA). 

Masters degree course

The annual tuition fees for a Masters degree course is set at €256, with reduced fees at €168. National diplomas granted for studies leading to a Masters are the following:

  • Masters;
  • Diplôme de recherche technologique (Diploma of technological research);
  • Diplôme national d'œnologie (National diploma in Oenology). 

PhD degree course

The annual tuition fees in state institutions of higher learning governed by the Ministry in charge of higher learning for preparing a doctorate is set at €391, with a reduced fees at €260.

Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (HDR - Accreditation to lead research)

The annual tuition fees for state institutions of higher learning governed by the Ministry in charge of higher learning for the HDR is set at €391, with reduced fees at €260.

Diplomas in Medicine, Pharmacy, Odontology, Maieutics and Paramedical

The annual tuition paid by students for preparing general training diplomas in the medical, odontological and pharmaceutical sciences varies a lot according to the level of the programme the student is in. The first cycle has the same tuition fees as a bachelor programme, the second cycle has the same tuition fees as a master’s programme, and the third cycle’s diplomas vary between €256 (with reduced fees at €168) and €512, without  reduced fees.

Tuition fees for the Grandes Écoles

Tuition fees vary according to the degree. For example, in 2016 average tuition fees for state engineering schools (écoles d’ingénieurs) are €610 per year.

Besides, certain Grandes Écoles not only dispense free education, but also pay their students, e.g. the École Polytechnique and the Écoles normales supérieures.


Financial Support for Learners' Families

Family allowance

Families perceive an allowance as long as there are at least 2 children under 20 years old in the household. This allowance’s amount is higher for each children added beyond the second, and is reduced by the income of the household.

Tax deductions for parents

Parents are eligible for tax deductions if their children are enrolled in a public or private higher education institution (HEI), even if the children are older than 18, as long as they’re attached to the fiscal household of the parents (until 25). The tax deduction may vary accordingly to the situation of the child (married, with children, etc.).

The programme the child is enrolled in has to organised in one or several annual cycles, must lead to a diploma, and must be organized collectively at full-time in a HEI (or in an apprenticeship in a company). Children must not be working (be linked with a job contract) or perceiving a remuneration to be attached to the fiscal household of the parents.

The tax deduction is €183 per child that is enrolled in a HEI in 2016.


Financial Support for Learners

Housing Aid

Students may receive personalised housing aid and a low-cost housing allowance. These two facilities are granted by the Caisse des Allocations Familiales (CAF - Family Allowance Fund) based on social criteria (income, family situation, the kind of housing, etc.). Since 2016, the value of the properties belonging to the aid applicant is taken into account for the amount. Students choosing to use these housing facilities are considered to be autonomous of their parents and can enjoy right of access to family services.

With regard to housing, the CROUS’ housing offer currently provides approximately 160,000 accommodations for students. Foreign students from developing countries who receive grants from the French government (BGF) or foreign governments (BGE) have priority for the allocation of housing managed by the regional centres of university- and school-related benefits (CROUS) – 20% of foreign students benefit from this type of housing.

Financial support for catering

With regard to food services, the CROUS manage university restaurants, open to both French and foreign students, whether or not they benefit from a grant. The university restaurant ticket’s price is set at € 3.25 for the 2016 academic year. 

Social criteria grants

This grant is given according to a national scale, as per the income earned in year n-2, listed as "gross overall income" on the household tax statement, as well as family expenses. Eight levels (0 to 7) are established based on income thresholds. A Department’s arrêté gives the income thresholds of the student’s fiscal household for the grant’s eligibility.

Amounts in 2016 vary from an exemption from payment of tuition fees and student contributions (level 0) to the attribution of €6,600 per year (level 7).

Merit aid

Merit aid takes the form of a supplementary scholarship for the students benefiting from a social criteria grant. The amount allocated per student with the Merit aid for students that passed the Baccalauréat before 2015 is €1,800. For students that passed the Baccalauréat in 2015 and after, this aid is €900.

Excellence is assessed twice during the study curriculum:

  • upon entering higher education for baccalauréat holders with très bien honours in the latest baccalauréat examination, regardless of the higher education course selected, provided it is under the authority of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and is authorised to cater to grant holders. The merit aid is allocated for a maximum of three years in this context;
  • upon entering the Masters 1 for the best licence graduates of the previous year selected by the institutions. It is allocated for the duration of the Masters. 

The student has to be present in classes as well as exams, or else his merit aid may be suspended. Repeating a year (unless it is justified by a serious medical condition) may also lead to losing the grant.

International mobility aid

The international mobility aid takes the form of supplementary aid for students who already benefit from the social criteria grant. Monthly payments amount to €400 for the 2016 academic year. It is allocated for 2 months (necessarily consecutive) to 9 months.

This aid is granted to students who wish to pursue higher education abroad as part of an exchange programme or to do international work experience, and are posted to a higher education institution under contract with the State. The beneficiaries of this aid are selected by the higher education institution in which they are enrolled. The international mobility aids to students is given by HEI itself and not the Regional centre for university and school life (CROUS).

National emergency aid fund

A new national emergency aid fund has been designed to provide adapted aid to students experiencing difficulties which cannot be resolved by the grant system based on social criteria. This unique fund is governed by allocation criteria determined at national level and therefore common to the entire country (for example, students whose parents suddenly lose their jobs, adults resuming their studies or students breaking away from their families and unable to pay their own way). This aid will be allocated in each academy by a committee chaired by the director of the Regional centre for university and school life (CROUS).

State-guaranteed student loan This loan is designed for students under 28, French or nationals from the European Union or the European Economic Area. Loan characteristics:

  • Maximum loan amount: €15,000/student in total;
  • No ressource criteria;
  • No parental or third party guarantee required;
  • Possibility of deferred payment (full or partial at the student’s discretion);
  • Loan for which the default risk is guaranteed by the State, similar to existing systems in other countries;

The following banks are involved in this process: Crédit Mutuel, Crédit Industriel et Commercial, Caisses d’Épargne, Banques Populaires, Société Générale. The application is made directly to these banking institutions. 


Private Education

The State can subsidise private higher education courses. Certain schools are financed by other Departments, even though many of them receive subsidies from the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research.

Such institutions must have been “recognised” by the State: recognition results from monitoring an institution’s operation, courses dispensed, and supervisory and teaching staff. It then enables the institution concerned to request subsidies, the granting of which is not automatic.

Fees

The amounts of fees depend on the school. For instance:  

L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC – School of higher business studies) has set the tuition fees for the wholde duration of its programmes for 2017 at the following:

Financial support for students and their families

To provide easier access to students from families with modest incomes, private engineering and business schools often have a system designed to lower registration fees or stagger payments. State recognition allows schools to accept students on State-funded scholarships. Some schools offer internal scholarships and loans (which can be paid back ten years after the student’s studies are completed, for example), and offer them paid positions at the institution. Some schools offer programmes that alternate school studies and apprenticeships in companies. Students in these programmes are exempt from tuition fees and receive a small salary of up to 78% of the minimum wage (gross minimum wage on 1st January 2014 = €1, 480/month based on 35 legal working hours per week).