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

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

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

The data published here cover the spectrum of higher education as fully as possible, with the exception of work study programmes and apprenticeships, unless these are run by a university (for more information, please refer to points 6.1 and 6.2 in the 2014 edition of Repères et références statistiques).

The variation in student numbers between two academic years can result 'naturally' from changes in the population of those of studying age (the 'demographic factor'), or from changes in the appeal of higher education (the 'appeal factor').

To gain a better understanding of the effect of each of these factors, we use enrolment rates and the age distribution of the population.

Enrolment rates by age are the ratio of the number of young people of a given age who are in higher education to the estimated number of the population of the same age. By applying the rates recorded for the 2012-13 academic year to the 2013 population, we get a theoretical number of students for the 2013-14 academic year.

The 'appeal factor' is the difference between this number and the number of students who actually enrolled in 2013.

The 'demographic factor' is the difference between the changes in the number of students between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years and this 'appeal factor'. 'IUT' is understood to refer to courses that lead to DUTs.

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11 students in higher education

This page has been updated. Read 12. students in higher education in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

There was a marked increase (+1.8%) in the total number of students in higher education, with 2,430,100 enrolled at the start of the 2013-14 academic year – the highest number to date. This increase is explained by the fact that higher education today has much greater appeal, even though there are fewer young people of studying age. Young women make up the majority of students and graduates.

At the start of the 2013-14 academic year, 2,430,100 students were enrolled on higher education courses in metropolitan France and overseas departments. This represents an increase of 1.8% on the previous academic year, meaning that the number of students has never been so high (chart 11.01). Changes in the size of generations should have resulted in 6,900 fewer young people enrolling in 2013-14 (table 11.02). The increase (+43,100) in the number of students enrolled at the start of the 2013-14 academic year can therefore not be put down to demographics, but rather to a stronger 'appeal factor' (see 'Methodology' section opposite).

62% of students in higher education were enrolled at universities, including 5% at technological university institutes (Instituts universitaires de technologie – IUT). Courses at higher education institutions excluding IUTs gained 36,400 students between 2012 and 2013, an increase of 2.7%. Between 1990 and 2010, changes in the number of students on these courses were generally in line with those observed in higher education as a whole. However, the situation varied significantly between different subject areas. In the arts and human and social sciences, which together account for 3 of every 10 students at university, numbers fell by 5.5% between 2004 and 2013 (table 11.03). Having been in decline over the decade, student numbers returned to their 2004 levels in physical education and sports science and techniques (+1.1%). During the same period, the number of law students rose sharply (+ 18.9%). However, it was healthcare courses that saw the most sustained growth in student numbers between 2004 and 2013 (+30%).

In these subject areas, more than 6 students in 10 are enrolled on a Bachelor's degree programme. The proportion of those studying for a PhD is higher in the sciences and STAPS (7.5%).

More than 1 in 6 students (18.3%) are enrolled at private education institutions, which have shown strong growth since 2000.

55.3% of students are women, although the proportion of female students varies between courses. Women make up the large majority of those studying arts and human sciences (seven out of ten), as well as paramedical and social care courses (eight out of ten). However, they are in the minority when it comes to more selective courses, such as classes preparing students for admission to Grandes Écoles (Classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles – CPGE), IUTs and in particular on courses of a scientific nature. Women account for only slightly more than a quarter (27.1%) of students on engineering courses (chart 11.04).

In total, 118,600 advanced technician diplomas (Brevets de technicien supérieur – BTS) and 46,900 technology university diplomas delivered by IUTs (Diplômes universitaires de technologie – DUT) were awarded in 2012 (chart 11.05). The number of BTSs awarded was up by 3.2% on 2011 and has generally been increasing (+17% between 2002 and 2012). The number of DUTs awarded increased slightly between 2011 and 2012 (+ 1.2%), although this diploma has lost some of its appeal over the longer term (- 4% over 10 years).

The number of vocational Bachelor's degrees (Licences professionnelles – LP) awarded rose by 3% from 45,400 in 2011 to 46,800 in 2012, as did the number of general Bachelor's degrees (Licences) (+2%), which increased to 121,300. However, after showing very strong growth between 2010 and 2011 (+17.7%), the number of postgraduate university diplomas awarded has now begun to fall slightly: 122,000 Master's degrees were awarded in 2012 – 2,600 fewer than in 2011 (- 2.1%). In the longer term (2002-2012), the number of Master's degrees, specialised graduate diplomas (Diplômes d’études supérieures spécialisées – DESS) and diplomas of advanced studies (Diplômes d’études approfondies – DEA) awarded has risen sharply (+74%) as a result of reforms to the French higher education system (the réforme LMD).

31,300 engineering diplomas were awarded in 2012, as compared with 26,500 in 2002, an increase of 18.5% over ten years. Business and management schools awarded nearly the same number of diplomas as engineering schools (33,500, including 20,600 state-approved diplomas), showing a sharp increase over ten years (+ 56.5%).

 Coverage:Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

How to cite this paper :

DAUPHIN Laurence. Students in higher education. 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 11, 32-33 [Accessed 11/12/2018]. ISBN 978-2-11-139433-9. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/EESR8EN_ES_11-students_in_higher_education.php

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The data published here cover the spectrum of higher education as fully as possible, with the exception of work study programmes and apprenticeships, unless these are run by a university (for more information, please refer to points 6.1 and 6.2 in the 2014 edition of Repères et références statistiques).

The variation in student numbers between two academic years can result 'naturally' from changes in the population of those of studying age (the 'demographic factor'), or from changes in the appeal of higher education (the 'appeal factor').

To gain a better understanding of the effect of each of these factors, we use enrolment rates and the age distribution of the population.

Enrolment rates by age are the ratio of the number of young people of a given age who are in higher education to the estimated number of the population of the same age. By applying the rates recorded for the 2012-13 academic year to the 2013 population, we get a theoretical number of students for the 2013-14 academic year.

The 'appeal factor' is the difference between this number and the number of students who actually enrolled in 2013.

The 'demographic factor' is the difference between the changes in the number of students between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years and this 'appeal factor'. 'IUT' is understood to refer to courses that lead to DUTs.

 

Key figures


Student numbers in Law
208,400
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-644-student_numbers_in_law.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Student numbers in Economics, Economic and Social Administration (AES)
237,100
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-645-student_numbers_in_economics_economic_and_social_administration_aes.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Student numbers in Arts, Humanities
465,400
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Student numbers in Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS)
372,500
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-647-student_numbers_in_sciences_physical_education_and_sports_science_and_techniques_staps.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Student numbers in Healthcare
216,200
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Student numbers in Technological university institutes (IUT)
115,800
 students
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-649-student_numbers_in_technological_university_institutes_iut.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in Law
18.9%
 
2013-14 against 2004-05
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in Economics, Economic and Social Administration (AES)
4.9%
 
2013-14 against 2004-05
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Variation in student numbers in Arts, Humanities
-5.5%
 
2013-14 against 2004-05
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS)
1.1%
 
2013-14 against 2004-05
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers in Healthcare
30%
 
2013-14 against 2004-05
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: in universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of women in paramedical and social care courses
84%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of women in the Arts, Humanities university study tracks
70.1%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-656-share_of_women_in_the_arts_humanities_university_study_tracks.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of women in the Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy university study tracks
63.1%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of women in the Law, Economics, Economic and Social Administration (AES) university study tracks
59.3%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of women in university courses (general and healthcare study tracks)
58.4%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of women in all higher education courses
55.3%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of women in Advanced technician's sections (STS) and equivalent
50.4%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of women in business, management and accounting schools
49.7%
 
2013
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of Advanced technician diplomas (BTS) awarded
118,629
 diplomas awarded
2012
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Number of Bachelor's degrees and Vocational Bachelor's degrees awarded
168,086
 diplomas awarded
2012
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: diplomas awarded by universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of Master's degrees awarded
122,044
 diplomas awarded
2012
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: diplomas awarded by universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of University technology diplomas (DUT) awarded
46,903
 diplomas awarded
2012
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: diplomas awarded by universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Number of engineering diplomas awarded
31,348
 diplomas awarded
2012
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Number of PhDs and Research supervision accreditations (HDR) awarded
13,686
 diplomas awarded
2012
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Coverage: diplomas awarded by universities
Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Variation in student numbers
1.8%
 
2013-14 against 2012-13
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of students in Law
13.9%
 
2013-14
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-1030-share_of_students_in_law.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of students in Economics, Economic and Social Administration (AES)
15.8%
 
2013-14
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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<iframe src='https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/8EN/CC-1031-share_of_students_in_economics_economic_and_social_administration_aes.php' width='100%' height='155 px' frameborder='0' id='GC' scrolling='no' style='min-width:240px; max-width:490px'></iframe>
Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of students in Arts, Humanities
31%
 
2013-14
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of students in Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS)
24.8%
 
2013-14
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of students in Healthcare
14.4%
 
2013-14
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "11. students in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

11.01 Changes in the number of students in higher education (in thousands, base=100 in 1990)

  
All higher education
University
Other courses
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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11.02 Changes in the number of students in higher education (in thousands)

 
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Number of students enrolled 1 2,231.5 2,234.2 2,314.1 2,319.6 2,350.9 2,387.0 2,430.1
Including
university 1,367.3 1,407.9 1,448.2 1,440.9 1,450.7 1,462.7 1,499.6
IUT 115.4 117.3 117.3 115.7 115.0 114.7 115.8
STS 230.9 234.2 240.3 242.2 246.0 253.7 255.0
CPGE 78.1 80.0 81.1 79.9 80.4 82.2 83.5
Variation in the number of students enrolled -22.0 +2.7 +80.0 +5.5 +31.2 +36.1 +43.1
Demographic factor +4.0 +7.0 -9.0 -13.0 -26.0 -22.1 -6.9
Appeal factor -26.0 -4.3 +89.0 +18.5 +57.2 +58.2 +50.0
 

The total number of students in higher education increased by 43,100 at the start of the 2013-14 academic year. Without the effect of other factors, the changes in the size of generations (demographic factor) would have resulted in 6,900 fewer students enrolling.
1 Fields defined in RERS points 6.1 and 6.2.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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11.03 Breakdown of students at French universities in 2013-14, by programme and subject area (in thousands)

 
Bachelor's degree Master's degree PhD All Newly enrolled students 1
Number Variation 2013-14/2004-05
(in %)
Number Variation 2013-14/2004-05
(in %)
Law 124.1 76.8 7.5 208.4 +18.9 39.3 +21.6
Economics, Economic and Social Administration 163.2 70.4 3.6 237.1 +4.9 49.5 +5.0
Arts, Human sciences 301.2 143.1 21.2 465.4 -5.5 92.8 -5.6
Sciences, Physical education and sports science and techniques 240.6 103.9 28.0 372.5 +1.1 77.7 +3.2
Health care 72.9 141.9 1.5 216.2 +30.0 39.9 +38.6
Total 901.9 536.0 61.7 1,499.6 +5.0 299.2 +6.2
at an IUT 115.8 115.8 +3.0 51.0 +6.3
 

1 Students enrolled on the first year of a Bachelor's degree programme for the first time.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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11.04 Proportion of women enrolled on the main higher education courses (as a %)

Paramedical and social care courses 2
University arts and human sciences courses
University medecine, dentistry and pharmacy courses
University law, economics and Economic and Social Administration courses
All university courses (general and health care)
All courses
Advanced technician's section and similar
Business, management and accountancy schools
CPGE
IUT
University science courses, Physical education and sports science and techniques
Engineering courses 1
  
1998-99
2013-14
 
 

1 including engineering courses dependent on universities, national polytechnical institutes (INP), universities of technology and engineering courses delivered in partnerships.
2 2012-13 instead of 2013-14.4.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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11.05 Changes in the number of diplomas awarded in the main higher education courses

  
Bachelor's degrees and vocational Bachelor's degrees
Bachelor's degree
BTS
DEA-DESS-Master's degrees
DUT
Engineering diplomas
PhDs and Research supervision accreditation
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

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Related statistical publications

The regional atlas of student numbers offers a territorialised approach to higher education courses in France.



It is organised by region and provides a detailed overview of higher education territories: the maps give a clear overall vision of the distribution of students and the tables provide details of these students by agglomeration and commune according to course type.
[Consult the following publication in french]
 Note flash - Enseignement supérieur & Recherche 03 - Student numbers at university up by 1.2% in 2014-2015 - Diane Marlat, Ophélie Rogel - April 2015
In 2014-2015, the number of students enrolled at university was 1,518,100, a rise of 1.2% in one year. Numbers were up in the Bachelor's degree programme (+1.2%) and the Master's degree programme (+1.6%), but down in the PhD programme (-2.4%).
 Note d'information SIES 15.01 - Students enrolled in French universities in 2013-2014 - Diane Marlat, Ophélie Rogel - March 2015
In 2013-2014, there were 1,505,600 students enrolled in French universities (including universities in overseas departments and the University of Lorraine).

There were 1,468,300 students in 2012-2013.

Numbers had increased by 2.5%.

More specifically, student numbers were up in the Bachelor's degree programme (+2.5%) and the Master's degree programme (+3.0%), but down in the PhD programme (-1.2%).

The number of new baccalauréat holders enrolling at university was very buoyant (+4.5%).

Student numbers in healthcare subjects rose significantly (+7.6%).

There were more general baccalauréat holders in the general subject fields (+7.0%), the number of new technological baccalauréat holders increased significantly in University technology institutes (Institut universitaire de technologie - IUT) (+13.5%) and those with a vocational baccalauréat were slightly less likely to enrol in the university.

The number of foreign students at university rose by 0.9%: they now represent 14.5% of all students. In the PhD programmes their numbers remained stable (41.4%).
 Tableaux statistiques 7178 - Student numbers in higher education from 1990-1991 to 2012-2013. Public and private sectors. - Laurence Dauphin - December 2013
Metropolitan France, France excluding overseas territories: growth in student numbers by type of institution, for 1990-91, 1995-96 and 2000-2001 to 2012-2013. Breakdown by sector: private, public; public under the authority of the Ministry of Education since 2000-2001; number of women: 1990-91, 1995-96 and 2000 to 2012; number of foreign nationals: 2000 to 2012. Education authorities (Metropolitan France, French overseas departments, French overseas collectivities: growth in student numbers by type of institution, from 2000-01 to 2012-2013. Numbers in overseas collectivities + New Caledonia: total by type of institution for 1990-91 and 2000-2001 to 2011-2012: total including women, including foreign nationals, including public sector. From 2011-2012, Mayotte is included in the overseas departments. List of acronyms.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
12 - students in higher education - Elisabeth Algava
There were 2,551,100 enrolments in higher education at the start of the 2015-2016 academic year. This was an increase of 3.2% in student enrolments over the previous year. The number of young people embarking on higher studies has risen hugely in five years [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
12 - students in higher education - Elisabeth Algava
With 2,470,000 students enrolled at the start of the 2014-15 academic year, numbers in higher education have increased significantly (+1.6%). There have never been so many students. This rise is due to the growth in the proportion of young people accessing higher education, even though the number of young people has fallen [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°8 - juin 2015
11 - les étudiants en formation dans l’enseignement supérieur - Laurence Dauphin
Avec 2 430 100 étudiants inscrits à la rentrée 2013, les effectifs de l’enseignement supérieur augmentent sensiblement (+ 1,8 %). Ils n’ont jamais été aussi nombreux. Cette hausse s’explique par une plus forte attractivité de l’enseignement supérieur, alors même que les jeunes en âge d’étudier sont moins nombreux. Les jeunes femmes sont majoritaires parmi les étudiants comme parmi les diplômés [Consult the following page in french]


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