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Number of students enrolled at university in France 1980-2018

The number of students registered at university of France has increased continuously since 1980. There were 796,100 students in French universities in 1980, compared to more than 1.6 million in 2017. That same year, the number of students registered in higher education in France reached 2.68 million.

Studying at university in France

The education system in France is highly centralized and organized by the French Ministry of Education. After graduation, French students could go to one of the 620 universities of the country and choose to follow degree courses on subjects as different as law, sciences or economy. In 2017-2018, most of student registered at university in France were following an art and humanities degree course. However, despite the recent democratization of higher education, it seems that most of university students were sons and daughters of individuals who were executives or had liberal professions like lawyer.

Other higher education institutes in France

One of the most prestigious types of higher education institutions in France are schools called Grandes Ecoles. These schools offer rigorous training and give highly recognized diploma after five years of study. The majority of students admitted to these institutions first spent two years in preparatory classes and are eligible to the school after taking a competitive examination. Other alternatives to university are two-years long trainings called BTS (technician certificate) or DUT (university degree in technology). In France almost 80 percent of individuals aged 25 and over had an upper secondary or tertiary education attainment in 2018.

Number of students registered at university in France between 1980 and 2018

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Release date

August 2019



Survey time period

1980 to 2018

Special properties

Metropolitan France and overseas

Supplementary notes

* Provisional data.

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Statistics on "Millennials in France"

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