Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Source:MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES.

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

'Other institutions and courses' groups together university type private institutions, 'grands établissements' (major institutions), engineering schools, business and management schools, journalism colleges, higher artistic and cultural colleges, paramedical schools excluding universities, schools training for employment in social work, architecture schools, veterinary schools, etc.

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09 students in higher education over the last 50 years

In 2015, 2,551,000 students enrolled in higher education, eight times as many as in 1960. Today, a little over six in ten students enrol at university. This share has however decreased over the last 50 years due to the diversification of the training on offer.

Students enrolled in higher education have increased eightfold in fifty years (table 09.01). Numbers have increased from 310,000 students enrolled in 1960 to 2,551,000 in 2015. Demographical changes are expected to cause a new increase in the next ten years, with numbers exceeding 2,910,000 in 2025. A new growth in the proportion of baccalauréat holders in a generation or rates of continuing in higher education could further extend this increase.

The rise in the number of students was initially led principally by the demographic growth of the 1950s and 1960s. Expanded access to the baccalauréat was a determining factor, particularly between 1987 and 1995, a period during which the proportion of baccalauréat holders in a generation increased from 33% to 63%. After a period of stability, this proportion recently grew significantly, from 62% in 2008 to 79% in 2016 (chart 09.02). This expanded access to the baccalauréat is due to a diversification in the offer, firstly with the creation of the technological baccalauréat (1968), followed by the vocational baccalauréat (1985). The latter in particular explains the recent increase in the proportion of baccalauréat holders in a generation. The aspirations of young people and their families to achieve a higher education qualification has also contributed to the marked increase in the student numbers (chapter 21). In 2015, 40% of 25-49 year olds had higher education qualifications, compared with 28% in 2005 (chart 09.03).

During the 1960s, long university courses led the developments in higher education (table 09.01): their proportion increased from 69% in 1960 to 75% in 1970 (excluding DUT preparations). It then decreased continuously for some forty years, reaching 57% in 2010, before increasing again very recently (chapter 12). During the 1970s and 1980s, preparations for DUT and especially STS led most of the growth in higher education, combined with the significant increase in the number of baccalauréat holders. Between 1970 and 2015, the proportion of students in 'other institutions and courses' (see definition) rose from 15% to 24%, demonstrating a diversification in courses giving access to higher education.

Since 2000, students enrolled in private higher education have increased by 62%, while total numbers increased by 18% over the same period. The private sector had 450,000 students enrolled in 2015, which represents one student in six (chart 09.04). It accounts for around a third of STS and engineering school numbers and all the business, management and accounts schools.

The growth in French higher education numbers over the last fifteen years can be primarily explained also by the increase in the number of foreign students (chart 09.05), mostly from foreign education systems. They represent 12.1% of students, compared with 8.1% in 2000 (chapter 14).

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

How to cite this paper :

ALGAVA Elisabeth. Students in higher education over the last 50 years. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 09 [Accessed 04/22/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_ES_09-students_in_higher_education_over_the_last_50_years.php

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'Other institutions and courses' groups together university type private institutions, 'grands établissements' (major institutions), engineering schools, business and management schools, journalism colleges, higher artistic and cultural colleges, paramedical schools excluding universities, schools training for employment in social work, architecture schools, veterinary schools, etc.

 

Key figures


Student numbers
2,551,000
 students
2015
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "09. students in higher education over the last 50 years".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in public higher education
+ 18.0%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "09. students in higher education over the last 50 years".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
Share of students enrolled in public higher education
82.4%
 
2015
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "09. students in higher education over the last 50 years".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in higher education
+ 12.0%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "09. students in higher education over the last 50 years".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
  See more key figures  
Share of students enrolled in private higher education
17.6%
 
2015
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "09. students in higher education over the last 50 years".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in private higher education
+ 62%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "09. students in higher education over the last 50 years".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP

09.01 Students enrolled in higher education since 1960 (in thousands)

 
1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2015 2025
(projection)
University 215 661 858 1,160 1,397 1,437 1,593 1,838
of which IUT 24 54 74 119 117 116 128
STS 8 27 68 199 239 242 256 273
CPGE 21 33 40 64 70 80 86 94
Other institutions and courses 66 130 215 293 454 560 616 707
All 310 851 1,181 1,717 2,160 2,319 2,551 2,912
University share (%) 69.3 77.7 72.7 67.5 64.7 62.0 62.5 63.1

 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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09.02 Proportion of baccalauréat holders in a generation (sessions from 1950-2016 p) (%)

  
General Baccalaureat
Technological Baccalaureat
Vocational Baccalaureat
Total Baccalaureat
 
 

The proportions of Bac holders in a generation for the sessions from 2012 to 2015 have been updated based on the demographic review published by Insee in March 2016. Values may therefore differ from those published last year.
This balance sheet provides provisional population estimates from 2014 onwards. The proportions of baccalauréat holders in a generation for the 2014 to 2016 sessions are therefore provisional.
p Provisoire.
1 1969: First session of the technological Baccalaureate.
2 1987: First session of the vocational Baccalaureate.
3 2009: Creation of the retake examination for the vocational Baccalaureate.
4 2011-2014: Reform of the vocational path.

📄 Sources:MENESR-DEPP
MAAF
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM) excluding Mayotte until 2010, including Mayotte from 2011.

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09.03 Proportion of higher education graduates per age band, from 2003 to 2015 (in %, persons aged 15 or over)

  
20-24
25-49
50-64
65 and over
All
 
 

Backcast data for the period 2003-2012 following the change in the Employment survey questionnaire in 2013. This backcasting does not permit correction of any shortfalls related to changes in the questions on education.
Ne sont comptés comme diplômés du supérieur que les personnes ayant un tel diplôme et achevé leurs études initiales. Cela fait une différence importante pour les 20-24 ans qui sont nombreux à poursuivre des études (39 % en 2015), souvent en ayant déjà obtenu un diplôme du supérieur.

📄 Source:Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

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09.04 Change in number of students in higher education institutions (inthousand, base 100 in 2000)

  
Private
Public
All
 
 

p Provisional.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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09.05 Change in numbers of French and foreign students (in thousands, base 100 in 2000)

  
French
Foreign
All
 
 

p Provisoire.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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Related statistical publications

 Note d'information SIES 17.05 - Projections des effectifs dans l'enseignement supérieur pour les rentrées de 2016 à 2025 - Aline Pauron - April 2017
En 2016-2017, selon les prévisions effectuées à partir des résultats définitifs au baccalauréat, des choix d’orientation observés les années précédentes et des premières informations disponibles sur l’année en cours, les inscriptions augmenteraient de 2,3 % dans l’ensemble de l’enseignement supérieur, y compris doubles inscriptions des étudiants de CPGE à l’université. Le nombre d’étudiants, établi après neutralisation de ce phénomène, progresserait de 1,9 %. Ceci correspond respectivement à environ 58 000 ou 48 000 inscriptions d’étudiants supplémentaires en un an. A l’horizon 2025, le nombre de bacheliers augmenterait significativement par rapport à 2015, principalement sous l’effet du dynamisme démographique. Si les tendances en termes d’orientation, de poursuite d’études et de démographie se prolongeaient, l’enseignement supérieur pourrait rassembler 2,9 millions d’étudiants en 2025, soit environ 350 000 étudiants de plus qu’en 2015.
 Note d'information SIES 16.10 - Les effectifs d'étudiants dans le supérieur en 2015-2016 en forte progression, notamment à l'université - Elisabeth Algava, Agnès Lièvre - December 2016
Les inscriptions d’étudiants dans l’enseignement supérieur en France métropolitaine et dans les départements d’outre-mer n’ont jamais été aussi nombreuses : 2 551 100 à la rentrée 2015. Leur nombre a particulièrement progressé entre les rentrées 2014 et 2015 (+ 3,2 %, soit 79 900 inscriptions de plus). La hausse est en partie liée à un accroissement des doubles inscriptions des étudiants en classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles à l’université : hors ces doubles inscriptions, l’augmentation globale est de 2,5 % sur un an (+ 61 000 inscriptions). L’augmentation des effectifs est élevée pour les formations d’ingénieur, les écoles de commerce, gestion et comptabilité ainsi que dans les classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles. Les formations courtes (en instituts universitaires de technologie et sections de techniciens supérieurs) enregistrent des effectifs stables. A la rentrée 2015, les inscriptions augmentent dans toutes les académies sauf la Corse. L’enseignement privé représente un peu plus d’un étudiant sur six.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
09 - changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification - Elisabeth Algava
In 2014, 2,471,000 students enrolled in higher education, eight times as many as in 1960. Today, a little over six in ten students enrol at university. This share has however decreased over the last 50 years due to the diversification of the training on offer [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
08 - changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification - Laurence Dauphin
In 2013, there were 2,430,100 students, 8 times as many as in 1960. Today, a little over six students in every ten are enrolled at university. However, in the last 10 years, most of this dynamism has been concentrated in private higher education. In 2013 this sector accounted for almost 18% of all students [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
09 - les étudiants dans les filières de formation depuis 50 ans - Elisabeth Algava
En 2015, on compte 2 551 000 inscriptions dans l’enseignement supérieur, 8 fois plus qu'en 1960. Aujourd'hui, un peu plus de six étudiants sur dix sont inscrits à l'université. Cette part a cependant décru au cours des 50 dernières années en raison de la diversification des formations offertes [Consult the following page in french]


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