Still more ‘distant mirror’

You wait ages for significant international developments re student choices and tuition fees, and three come along at once! Here is a major report from France, putting forward a vision for the future of French Universities, and especially their international competitiveness. At the moment, in France there is no tuition fee premium based upon residence: everyone pays the same really very low fee. The headline proposal is to charge non-EU students full economic cost — interestingly, with the exception of doctoral students, who are seen as research assets in and of themselves. The money gained is to be plowed back into French higher education, and there this is to be accompanied by no decrease in the level of central funding (good luck with that one). The point is that, by dramatically improving the product that French universities can offer international students, France’s market share will increase despite the rising fees.

This proposed move is broadly in keeping with the ‘super-university’ proposed for Paris, Paris-Saclay, which will join 19 universities together in a single entity, the better to compete in international league tables. While this model can work for Paris, one wonders what might in store for regional institutions who don’t have geographically near-by HEIs with which to merge.

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