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France Higher Education Statistics

France International Student Statistics

France International Student Statistics

(Updated 2022)

370,000 International Students

France belongs to the top five countries in the world as the most popular for international students, after the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The benefits of studying abroad in France include the low tuition fees, scholarship opportunities, and the great life and education standard for students. Furthermore, almost all French universities offer courses in the English language.

Quick Summary

The advantageous student life in France attracts many international students yearly, as a result, the number of international students has increased by 13.8% in the last five years.

  • The total number of international students studying abroad in France is 370,000.
  • The majority of international students in France come from Morocco, a total of 43,464 students.
  • France has issued a total of 59,990 student visas for international students.
  • Ile-de-France is the French region with the highest number of international students, a total of 127,476 students.

Historical International Students Statistics in France

  • According to the latest data, there are 370,000 international students getting a higher education degree in French universities.
  • The number of international students in French higher education institutions has been experiencing constant growth in the last five years.
  • International student enrollment in France has increased significantly from 2017/18, by 13.8%.
  • From 2019/20 to 2020/21, the number of international students studying abroad in France has slightly increased, by 3.3%.
  • On the other hand, from 2018/19 to 2019/20, international student enrollment increased by 4.3%.
  • A 5.5% increase in the number of foreign students enrolled in higher education institutions in France, occurred between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
  • The majority of international students in France choose the field of Business and Management (42,559).
International Students in the France.jpg
Year International Students
2020/21 370,000
2019/20 358,000
2018/19 343,000
2017/18 325,000
Countries of Origin of International Students in France.jpg

Where Do International Students in France Come From?

  • The majority of international students in France come from Morocco with 43,464 students, followed by China with 29,731 students.
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the country with the least international students in France (5,865).
  • France has issued a total of 59,990 student visas for international students.
  • International students from Greater Middle East and North Africa received the most student visas in France, in comparison to other countries (25,628).

Here are the 15 countries bringing the most international students in France:

Country of Origin International Students
Morocco 43,464
China 29,731
Algeria 29,527
Italy 16,014
Senegal 13,663
Tunisia 13,073
Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) 9,639
Spain 9,034
Germany 8,239
Cameroon 7,952
Portugal 6,970
India 6,798
United States 6,686
Lebanon 6,599
Democratic Republic of the Congo 5,865
Subject Non-EU Students EU Students Total Non-UK
Business and Management 145,610 32,105 177,715
Engineering and Technology 51,270 12,105 63,375
Social Sciences 36,820 15,110 51,930
Computing 35,805 10,830 46,635
Design, and Creative and Performing Arts 25,155 16,040 41,195
Subjects Allied to Medicine 26,110 9,625 35,735
Law 20,885 6,710 35,735
Language and Area Studies 10,905 5,825 35,735
Biological and Sport Sciences 9,260 7,360 16,620

Which French Regions Do International Students in France Choose?

  • The French region with the highest number of international students is Ile-de-France, with 127,476 students, followed by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes with 48,538 students, as of 2021 statistics.
  • Ranked third as the French region with the most international students, is Occitanie, with 33,956 students, and Grand Est is ranked fourth with 31,680 students.
  • There are 24,732 international students in Hauts-de-France, and 24,555 in New Aquitaine (Nouvelle-Aquitaine).
  • Other French regions that host foreign students include Provence with 23,145 students, Brittany (13,296), Pays de la Loire (12,950), Normandy (10,991), Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (8,051), Centre-Val de Loire (6,774), Overseas France (3,468), and finally Corsica with 440 students.

What Institutions Do International Students in France Attend?

Here are the five types of institutions that international students in France attend:

  • Universities are the institutions that have the highest number of foreign students, a total of 249,303.
  • There are 42,559 international students enrolled in the Schools of Business and Management, followed by Schools of Engineering with 26,548 international students.
  • There are 18,131 international students enrolled in Post-secondary programs offered in secondary schools (e.g., preparatory programs, technical certificate programs).
  • The number of international students enrolled in Schools of Art and Architecture is 10,646.
  • There are 22,865 international students enrolled in other higher education institutions.
  • International students that come from China are most likely to choose schools of business and management, a total of 7,987, followed by Morocco with 5,926 students and India with 3,504 international students.
  • The country of origin with the least international students interested in the business and management field, is Russia, with 566 students.
  • China is the country of origin with the highest number of international students enrolled in schools of engineering, with 3,508 students, followed by India with 1,035 international students, and Cameroon with 1,114 students.
  • Benin is the country of origin with the least international students in France, who are enrolled in the schools of engineering, only 302 international students.
  • Of the total 290,500 non-mobile foreign students in France, 229,623 are enrolled in degree-seeking programs.
  • In comparison, 60,877 international students are enrolled in short-term exchange programs.

What Degree Do International Students In France Pursue?

There are three different degree levels offered at higher education institutions in France: Bachelor (License), Master, and Doctorate. The most recent 2021 statistics show that:

  • There are 124,666 international students pursuing a Bachelor's (License) degree in France.
  • Whereas, 101,949 foreign students are enrolled in Master's programs in higher education institutions in France.
  • Doctorate programs have less international students than the two levels mentioned above, a total of 22,688 students.

What Discipline Do International Students in France Study?

The various disciplines in higher education institutions in France include Sciences; Literature, Languages, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Economics, Management, and Administration; Law and Political Science; and finally Health and Medicine.

  • The discipline with the highest number of international students in France is the field of Sciences, with 77,685 students in total, as of 2021.
  • After Sciences, there are 76,546 international students enrolled in the field of Literature, Languages, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
  • 46,460 foreign students are enrolled in the field of Economics, Management, and Administration in French universities.
  • There are a total of 28,594 international students enrolled in Law and Political Science in higher education institutions in France.
  • Finally, the number of international students enrolled in the discipline of Health and Medicine is 20,018.

Why Do International Students Choose France?

The education system in France continues to hold the reputation of being one of the best in the world for international students who choose to study abroad. The benefits of studying abroad in France are endless which add to the attraction of numerous nationalities.

  • France is ranked fourth in the top countries for international students in the world when it comes to student mobility.
  • There are around 3,500 higher education institutions in France, and they offer numerous programs in several disciplines.
  • One of the main reasons why international students choose to study in France without hesitation is the network possibilities with many other nationalities.
  • The location of the country makes it even better for those foreign students who want to travel and visit neighboring countries.
  • France is one of the first countries that offer the majority of all degree-level programs in the English language, which makes it easier for international students to finish their higher education studies.
  • Another reason why France is attractive to international students is the cultural background and reputation for sophisticated movie and music culture.

International Student Numbers in France Grow Despite Pandemic

  • Despite the situation that the COVID-19 pandemic has created in the last two years, the number of international students studying in France has increased continuously.
  • There has been a 3.3% increase in international student enrollment in France in the last two years, despite the pandemic situation.
  • 14% of higher education students in France are international students.
  • The majority (80%) of university academic staff and faculty have successfully transitioned to work and learn remotely.