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France — keeping up with electoral promises in higher education and research

In the midst of an acute economic crisis in Europe, France decides to spare higher education and research from further budget cuts, and even more, to allocate 2.2% more funds in 2013 compared to this year to these two highly interrelated fields. The increase corresponds to EUR 514 million, bringing the total budget for next year to EUR 22.95 billion.

In the field of higher education, in line with promises made in the presidential campaign earlier this year (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, March 2012), priority is given to enhancing student support, with more funding for scholarships and housing facilities. In total, EUR 2.33 billion have been earmarked for student support, covering an increase in grant amounts and the addition of a 10th month of grant funding, as well as the construction of new student residences, in line with the government’s target of 40 000 more units in five years. In order to increase graduation rates in the first cycle, 1 000 more posts will be filled next year by academic, research and administrative staff, at a cost of EUR 27.9 million. In total, and excluding student support money, EUR 12.76 billion have been allocated for higher education.

As for research, the total budget amounts to EUR 7.86 billion, i.e. a rise by EUR 90 million (or 1.2%) compared to 2012. The higher education and research minister, Geneviève Fioraso, made promises that the current close to 69 000 public research jobs will be safeguarded.

French Ministry for Higher Education and Research (in French)