The well-known Sorbonne was founded circa 1253 and has seen generations upon generations of students pass through its hallowed gates over the centuries

This legacy of excellence built and continues to build a reputation for quality that French tertiary education has long enjoyed.

Centuries of tradition
Imbued with the tradition of a thousand years of scholarship, France’s diversified network of more than 3,500 institutions of higher learning − both public and private − and its internationally renowned research centres deliver top-notch educational programmes. The network comprises 83 universities, 220 engineering schools, 200 schools of business and management, 120 public art schools and 20 schools of architecture. In addition, more than 3,000 specialised schools and institutes provide instruction in specific sectors such as social work, paramedical training, tourism, sports and physical education, and fashion and design.

Effective education
Together with this legacy, France carries out an elite certification policy to ensure that all its degrees, from the Sorbonne to Aix-en-Provence, are of equal quality and value.

France’s academic system is ranked seventh best in the world, according to the Times Higher Education magazine one of the world ranking reference. It states that the best management Master’s programme is French, and five French management Master’s institutions are in the world’s top 10. Still according to Times Higher Education, the two best european business schools are French, HEC and INSEAD.

France owes its economic success to its research capacity, which has led to world-leading achievements in the sectors of aerospace, transportation, electronics, telecommunications, chemistry, biotechnology, health and mathematics.

The establishment of a new network of research and higher education clusters reaffirms the country’s determination to maintain its high profile as a knowledge economy. Known as PRES (pôles de recherche et d’enseignement supérieur), the clusters represent a new way for France’s academic and scientific communities to cooperate and share knowledge. See Higher education and Research clusters

Spending to learn
In 2008, higher education spending reached €24.9 bil and research spending €40 bil, or 2.07% of France’s GDP. This percentage is very close to the average of the OECD countries, and above the percentage registered in major European countries.

Financing is for the most part public. 78.3% to 86.9% comes from the State, of which 69% comes from the Ministry of Education alone. The future upcoming investment programme has allocated €22 bil to tertiary education and research.

France’s central government bears a very large share of the true cost of education at public institutions — between €9,000 and €15,000 per student per year — thereby reducing the burden of the student’s tuition. In fact, registration fees in France’s public institutions are among the lowest in the world for both local and international students, thus making the high quality of the degree value for money indeed. See Funding your studies

The magnitude of the nation’s commitment to education is a guarantee of the value and integrity of the degree earned.