A slew of French universities were found Monday to illegally set quotas on the number of students accepted, while twenty-four higher education institutions still charge bloated registration fees.
A report by the National Union of French Students (UNEF) found that 27 universities are setting limits on the number of accepted students, defying a long-standing rule of open to all, and non-selective to all applicants who have passed the school-leaving baccalauréat exam.
“We just want universities to respect the law and the fact that because it’s a problem of budget, the financing of university is more and more difficult,” said UNEF spokesperson Abib Gniengue. “Some universities have to make cuts but we want to make all universities with illegal fees respect the law.”
Some universities claimed that certain courses require prerequisites to follow the program. Consequently, UNEF said some universities prefer to cut down new enrollment rather than hire new teachers or scale back on quality.
Only 32 per cent of graduates now attend public universities, compared to 39 per cent in 2005. And during this same period, private insitutions saw a 32 per cent spike in enrollment.
These figures don’t capture a complete figure of students working towards a degree in France. The country’s higher education system is not classified by either a private or public institution label (e.g. elite grandes écoles or engineering and commerce schools are in a separate catagory).
The report did mark a decrease in illegal registration fees, from 24 insitutions this year compared to 30 last year, and 50 in 2005.