Campus France, which represents French education globally, said the investment was “significant” and shows the government ambition to grow numbers.
“This it is a significant operation and a testimony of the government’s ambition to help French public universities improve the services given to international students and make them feel welcome to France,” a spokesperson told The PIE News.
The investment is divided into two equal parts.
“This it is a significant operation and a testimony of the government’s ambition”
The first €5m will be dedicated to equipping French institutions with welcome desks for international students, while the second will be made available through a call for proposals to support a variety of programs for international students.
“€5m will be dedicated to the creation of a welcome desk for international students in every French university, starting next September,” a spokesperson at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation told The PIE.
The allocation to each university, they explained, depends on the number of international students it welcomes.
The second round of funding will be allocated to developing projects in three areas: peer support, development of French foreign language courses, and the strengthening of English-taught provision, and training in other languages.
The first area, the government statement explained, included “buddy programs” aimed at helping international students through their new life in France, with a focus on integrating them in the student community.
The second is an investment in the development of French language courses for international students with low French proficiency. It could also cover French as a foreign language courses for refugee students, according to the government statement.
The third area covers the development of English-medium instruction courses and language training for staff, and improving multilingual reception in institutions.
Universities are invited to submit proposals by May 2.
“This €10m investment has to be seen as a starter of the Choose France program. France intends to welcome 500 000 international students by 2027,” the spokesperson added.
France has launched its international recruitment strategy, developed by the government in collaboration with Campus France, last year.
It was also announced that tuition fees will increase for non-EEA students from September, although PhD students will be exempt.
“When you raise fees but don’t improve quality of services you have a problem”
Studyportals’ director of analytics and consulting Thijs van Vugt told The PIE the French government’s investment needs to be seen in the context of the tuition fee increase.
“When you raise fees but don’t improve quality of services you have a problem,” he said. “Service level expectations go up – the more you pay, the more you expect.”
He explained that the standard of international student services, and the availability of provisions such as EMI courses, need to be improved and expanded if France is to recruit more internationally and to compete with other destinations.
“UK, Netherlands, Sweden Denmark are in my view most advanced in international recruitment – and charge substantial fees for international students,” he explained.
“So they learned they needed to get their act together [with regards to service provision].”