The number of international students registered in France rose by 8% in 2021-2022, and went over 400,000: it is the highest growth in 15 years, thanks to the growth of the number of European students. A clear rebound confirmed by recruitment outlooks for the year 2022-2023, with applications on the rise by 18% compared with the pre-pandemic period.
After a year of stagnation in 2020-2021 in the context of the pandemic (-1%), the number of foreign students registers for the year 2021-2022 the stronger interannual growth since 2005: +8% (source Ministry of Higher education and Research/SIES). Including apprentices in higher education, the threshold of 400,000 foreign students in France has just been crossed (400,026).
Among the top 10 countries of origin of students in France, the most significant increases are those of Italian (4th origin, +16%), Spanish (7th, +25%) and Lebanese (9th, +30%) students.
Some origins, which had previously been on the decline, have been on the rise again over the past year (Germany, +17%; USA, +50%). Only mobility from China and Vietnam are still decreasing, with respectively -2% and -4% over one year.
In terms of areas, figures show a particularly marked recovery over the last year for the Americas, Europe and the Middle East-North Africa (MENA):
Americas: with +15% students, this is the zone that is experiencing the strongest growth, particularly thanks to North America, with a number of students up by 43%. The number of students in Latin America and the Caribbean rose by 14%, and in South America by 4%.
Europe (+13%) has seen the strongest growth over one year after the Americas and is back to a level 10% higher than before the pandemic. Non-EU countries – which now include the United Kingdom – are up by 25%, and EU countries by 9%.
The Middle East and North Africa, the leading zone in terms of the number of students received, increased by 10% over one year and by 32% over five years. And there’s a particularly significant increase from the Middle East (+17%).
Sub-Saharan Africa registered a 5% increase, below the average of 8%: the increase in the number of African students had in fact continued in 2020-21 (+6%). Over five years, the increase remains strong (40%) and above the average (21%).
Asia-Oceania, where student numbers have only increased by 1% over one year, remains the region most affected by the mobility restrictions linked to the pandemic. But after a 9% drop in 2020-21, the situation is stabilising. While China, Vietnam and Australia are in decline, a recovery is emerging in India (+9.5%), Japan (+12%) and Sri Lanka (+17%).
Though figures are rising in all institutions, they have jumped in business schools, which have seen an increase of 18%. Foreign students increased by 7% in high school courses, 6% in universities, 5% in art and architecture schools, 3% in engineering schools and 7% in other institutions.
This rebound recorded during the academic year 2021/22 seems to be confirmed for the 2022/23 year: at the end of August 2022, more than 140,000 students from 70 countries worldwide had applied via “Etudes en France. A record number on the rise by 18% compared with the pre-Covid situation [1]
[1] Increase calculated on a like-for-like basis in countries where the “Etudes en France” procedure already existed in 2018/19, reference year before Covid.
The French Agency for the promotion of higher education,international student services, and international mobility.
©2017 Campus France


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