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

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📄 Sources:MENESR-DEPP
MAAF
MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Insee.

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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08 changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification

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This page has been updated. Read 09. students in higher education over the last 50 years in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

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.

Student numbers in higher education have increased 8-fold in 50 years (table 08.01) and they are likely to continue to grow over the next 10 years. Numbers increased from 310,000 in 1960 to 2,430,000 in 2013, and they are set to exceed 2,600,000 in 2020 if current trends in terms of educational choices and pursuing studies into higher education continue.

The demographic dynamism of the 1950s and 1960s and the opening up of the baccalauréat exam to more pupils (77% of a generation compared with 10% at the beginning of the 1960s) account in part for this growth (chart 08.02). The extended duration of studies and the increased appeal of the higher education system have also contributed to this large increase. Young people do indeed aspire to longer studies: 56% of young people entering the first year of a Bachelor's degree at the start of the 2011 academic year hoped to continue their studies as far as a Master's degree, compared with 50% in 2000. The diplomas they obtain are usually of Bac + 3 and Bac + 5 level: 32% of young people entering secondary education in 1995 went on to obtain a diploma of Bac + 3 level or higher, compared with 26% of young people entering secondary education in 1989. Lastly, half of the total rise in student numbers in higher education over the last 20 years is due to the influx of international students (chart 08.03), most of whom have come from foreign education systems. They represent 12.1% of students compared with 9.4% 20 years ago. France is one of the five most attractive countries in the world in terms of students, a long way behind the United States and the United Kingdom, but only a little below the level of Germany and Australia.

During the 1960s, it was the longer university courses that boosted the development of higher education (chart 08.04). They accounted for four-fifths of growth. After this, other courses also contributed: University technology institutes (Institut universitaire de technologie - IUT), Advanced technician's sections (Section de technicien supérieur - STS) (during the 1980s, associated with the sharp increase in the number of baccalauréat holders), and higher schools.

During the period 2000-2010, two-thirds of growth derived from these other courses: major institutions, higher schools, paramedical and social care courses. Thus the majority of growth over the last 10 years (80%) is down to the private sector (chart 08.05), whose staff numbers have grown more than 50% and which today account for more than one student in every six (18%), and also to the public sector under the responsibility of other ministries than the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et da la Recherche - MENESR). In 2013, all courses offered in business and management schools were part of the private sector. Private sector courses also accounted for about one third of students in the engineering schools and STS and one sixth of students in classes preparing for admission to Grandes Ecoles (Classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles - CPGE).

Given all these changes, at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year the landscape of higher education in France was highly diversified: universities accounted for 62% of students, of whom 9% were in health disciplines and 5% in IUTs. Engineering schools had 6% of students and business and management schools also had 6%. Finally, 10% of students were in STS and 3% in CPGE.

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

How to cite this paper :

DAUPHIN Laurence. Changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification. 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, 2015. 8th ed. Chapter 08, 26-27 [Accessed 11/12/2018]. ISBN 978-2-11-139433-9. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/EESR8EN_ES_08-changes_in_higher_education_over_the_last_50_years_growth_and_diversification.php

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Key figures


Student numbers
2,430,099
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in private higher education
59.9%
 
2012-13 against 2000-01
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
Variation in student numbers in public higher education
5.5%
 
2012-13 against 2000-01
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
Variation in student numbers in public higher education under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR)
4.5%
 
2012-13 against 2000-01
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
  See more key figures  
Variation in student numbers in public higher education outside the responsibility of the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR)
19.6%
 
2012-13 against 2000-01
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
Variation in student numbers in higher education
12.5%
 
2012-13 against 2000-01
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
Share of students enrolled in private higher education
18%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-1071-share_of_students_enrolled_in_private_higher_education.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of students enrolled in public higher education
82%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "08. changes in higher education over the last 50 years: growth and diversification".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

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

 
1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2013 2020

(projection)
University 215 661 858 1,160 1,397 1,437 1,500 1,661
of which IUT 24 54 74 119 117 116 126
STS 8 27 68 199 239 242 255 285
CPGE 21 33 40 64 70 80 84 93
Other institutions and courses 66 130 215 293 454 560 591 592
All 310 851 1,181 1,717 2,160 2,319 2,430 2,630
University share (%) 69.3 77.7 72.7 67.5 64.7 62.0 61.7 63.2

 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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08.02 Proportion of baccalauréat holders in a generation (sessions from 1950-2014 p) (%)

  
General baccalauréat
Technological baccalauréat
Vocational baccalauréat
All baccalauréats
 
 

The proportions of baccalauréat holders in a generation for the 2011 to 2014 sessions have been updated based on the Demographic Review published by INSEE in March 2014. Values may therefore differ from those published last year.
This balance sheet provides provisional population estimates from 2012 onwards. The proportions of baccalauréat holders in a generation for the 2012 to 2014 sessions are therefore provisional.
p provisional.

📄 Sources:MENESR-DEPP
MAAF
Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France until 2000, Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM) excluding Mayotte since 2001.

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08.03 Change in numbers of French and foreign students (base 100 in 2000)

  
French
Foreign
All
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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08.04 students enrolled in higher education since 1960 (in thousands)

  
Universities excl. IUT
IUT (University)
STS
CPGE
Other institutions and courses
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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08.05 Change in number of students in higher education institutions (base 100 in 2000)

  
Public MENESR
Public excl. MENESR
Private
Public
All
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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Related statistical publications

 Note d'information SIES 15.02 - Forecasts of student numbers in higher education for academic years 2014 to 2023 - Laurent Fauvet - April 2015
At the start of the 2014-15 academic year, according to forecasts based on the provisional results of the baccalauréat and the course choices seen in previous years, student numbers seemed set to increase by 1.6% across higher education as a whole. The number of students entering higher education also appears to be higher than last year, as a result of a significant increase in vocational baccalauréat holders and a slight rise in the rates of general and technological baccalauréat holders pursuing their studies.

Looking ahead to 2023, the number of general baccalauréat holders will probably increase significantly compared with 2013 across all series, mainly due to dynamic demographic growth.

As a result of the introduction of priority guidance measures, the rate of students continuing their studies has improved and there has been a rise in the number of vocational baccalauréat holders going into Advanced technician's sections (Section de technicien supérieur - STS), and those from the technological series going into University technology institutes (Institut universitaire de technologie - IUT).

If trends in terms of guidance, further studies and demographic growth were to continue, student numbers would increase by 9% between 2013 and 2023.
 Trente ans de vie économique et sociale - INSEE références - Edition 2014 - Scolarisation et origines sociales depuis les années 1980 : progrès et limites - (dir.), (ed.), collective work - January 2014
En 30 ans, l'espérance de scolarisation à 15 ans a fortement augmenté (de 4,7 ans à 6,5 ans) avant de se stabiliser avec la baisse des redoublements. Le niveau d'études s'est nettement élevé. À leur sortie des études, plus de quatre jeunes sur dix ont en poche un diplôme de l'enseignement supérieur, contre moins de deux sur dix il y a 30 ans. Moins de jeunes quittent l'école sans diplôme, mais cela reste fréquent, surtout dans les milieux défavorisés. La généralisation de l'accès au baccalauréat, dans tous les milieux sociaux, masque une grande hétérogénéité des types de baccalauréat obtenu, plus souvent professionnels en bas de l'échelle sociale et généraux en haut. Ces différences se retrouvent dans l'enseignement supérieur, avec des poursuites d'études courtes plus fréquentes (BTS-DUT) pour les jeunes moins favorisés. Pour les jeunes sans diplôme, l'insertion professionnelle est difficile. Fin 2010, à leur arrivée sur le marché du travail, près de la moitié d'entre eux se retrouve au chômage.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
09 - students in higher education over the last 50 years - Elisabeth Algava
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 [Consulter cette page]
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 [Consulter cette page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°8 - juin 2015
08 - les évolutions de l'enseignement supérieur depuis 50 ans : croissance et diversification - Laurence Dauphin
En 2013, on compte 2 430 100 étudiants, 8 fois plus qu’en 1960. Aujourd’hui, un peu plus de six étudiants sur dix sont inscrits à l’université. Mais ces 10 dernières années, c’est l’enseignement supérieur privé qui a concentré l’essentiel de ce dynamisme. Il représente, en 2013, près de 18 % des effectifs d’étudiants [Consulter cette page en français]


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