According to Unesco figures, French universities have the third highest number of overseas students in the world.
In 2012 271,000 students came to study in France, which is 6.8 per cent of the world’s mobile student population, estimated at 4 million.
In the USA and Britain, overseas students pay much higher fees than local or in Britain’s case, fellow EU students. Such students are a major source of income for institutes of higher education.
French universities who wish to attract foreign students are increasingly in competition with institutions in the Middle East or parts of Asia.
France-Stratégie, which prepared the report, which is called Investing in the Internationalisation of Higher Education, reckons that universities could reap 850 million euros per year if they charged overseas students the full real cost of their education.
At the moment, a foreign student pays the same amount as a French student, a registration fee of around 190 euros and tuition costs are free, as for French and EU nationals.