France - Country Commercial Guide
Educational Services (EDU)
Last published date:


Total Market Size for Education

Academic Year





2022 (Estimated)

Foreign students in France





French students in France




 2,7 mil

French students in the world





International students in the U.S. 





French students in the U.S.





Exchange Rate 1 Euro

USD 1.19

USD 1.14

USD 1.18

USD 1.09

Source : (total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

(Figures in USD millions ; * indicates un official estimates.

Year to year figures adjusted for varying exchange rate.)

Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)

According to the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BEA, Education ranked as the sixth largest U.S. services export. The U.S. hosted over 900,000 students and reported $31.8 billion.  During the 2020/2021 academic year, 5,643 French students pursued academic study at U.S. colleges and universities, contributing $284 million to the U.S. economy.  France is still the twenty-fourth leading country of origin for students coming to the United States and the sixth leading host country for U.S. students studying abroad. The number of French students in the U.S. has maintained a slow, steady increase for 10 years.

According to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education 87% of French students believe that tuition fees at U.S. institutions of higher education are very high, particularly in comparison to the low-cost French educational system (nearly free for public universities) or ERASMUS programs in other European countries. The high comparative cost of a U.S. education explains why today more than half of the French students studying in the United States are also scholarship recipients. However, when compared to other potential study destinations, 81% of French students perceive the United States to have a superior education system. 

Leading Sub-Sectors

In 2020/21, the breakdown of the level of education being studied by French students in the U.S. was as follows: 39% undergraduate students, 33.7% graduate students, 24.6% non-degree students, and 20.2% OPT (Optional Practical Training).  The most popular academic fields of study for French students in higher education in the United States in 2020/2021 are: Business/Management 23.7%, Engineering 15.3%, Social Sciences 10.4%, Math/ Computer Science 10.4%, Humanities 5.7%, and only 3% studied intensive English.

Best prospects within this sector include a one-year program for French high-school graduates (post baccalaureate), usually between graduation and entry into French university and work/study programs (internships). 


France is a solid market for schools interested in diversifying their international student body. France benefits from high per-capita income, strong secondary school education, and substantial business ties with the United States. In addition, most French schools/universities have implemented the Bologna Process and shifted to a three-tier bachelor/master/doctorate education system, making the comparison of educational credentials easier. Both countries can achieve their bilateral goals in student mobility through partnerships that foster mutual recognition of their degrees, offering dual degrees and incentives such as paid internships.

American institutions may also benefit from the following opportunities:

Second & Third Tier Cities: Most U.S. colleges and universities focus their recruitment efforts on Paris. Recruitment efforts that include other cities in France in addition to Paris (particularly those with strong universities or a sister city connection) generally yield effective results.

Partnerships: The U.S. and France express their support for the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative promoting increased student and junior researcher mobility and exchanges. This initiative aims to double the number of U.S students going to France and the number of French students coming to the United States by 2025.

Community colleges: French high school students show a growing interest in community colleges as they are accessible, affordable and offer the opportunity to transfer to a university after a couple of years. 

Optional Practical Training: This has contributed to a rise in the overall number of international students in the U.S. because it allows students in science and engineering fields to stay in the country and work for 36 months.


Educaton USA/Fulbright Commission – France;

Main Educational Trade Shows:

Studyrama International Studies Virtual Fair -

  • Cité Internationale de Paris – November 8th, 2022
  • Cité Internationale de Bordeaux – October 1st, 2022
  • Cité Internationale de Lyon – October 15th, 2022
  • Cité Internationale de Nice – January 6th & 7th, 2023

Go Study Abroad, International Student Fair, Porte de Versailles, Paris – November 2022. -

Educatec/Educatrice, Annual Professional