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France exempts int’l PhDs from fee hike

International doctoral students will be exempt from the higher fee regime for non-EEA students announced in 2018, the French press has reported.

International PhDs are "essential" to French research. Photo: Pixabay

France announced the new differential fee system for non-EEA students last year

French minister for higher education and research Frédérique Vidal announced the move in an interview with newspaper Journal du Dimanche on 24 February.

The minister also said that tuition fees for EEA and French students will remain stable and won’t be raised more than the inflation rate.

“We want to encourage research and doctoral students’ mobility”

Commenting on the announcement, Campus France director of communications Florent Bonaventure told The PIE News: “We want to encourage research and doctoral students’ mobility.”

The move comes after a report submitted in February to the ministry made recommendations for measures adopted in the Bienvenue en France strategy.

The report also contains a number of recommendations to improve the country’s attractiveness and ability to welcome international students.

As for the tuition fee hike announced last year, the report categorically recommended that doctoral students be exempt from the measure, arguing that they are “essential” to the advancement of research.

About 45% of researchers in France are international, the report stated.

Beyond making the case for non-EEA PhDs, the report called for fees for other EEA students to be stabilised and for universities to be granted more autonomy to allow them to develop their own policy to attract non-EEA students.

Other recommendations include setting targets on the number and the level of international students the country wants to attract and measures to improve the promotion of the French education system abroad.

As of September 2019, new students will pay €2,770 for undergraduate and €3,770 at master’s level, a jump from the current €170 per year for undergraduate programs and €243 for master’s programs.

The new regulations were contested by some politicians and education stakeholders, while the French university presidents and the CPU (the French university presidents’ association) have recently spoken out against it.

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