Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in higher education


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.4National reforms in higher education

Last update: 29 March 2024


Plans and training for the ecological transition of higher education and research

Running period: Starting with the academic year 2023-2024

Status : In force

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education and Research

Reasons/objectives: Play a major role to accelerate France's low-carbon transition and climate resilience, to preserve biodiversity and the functionality of ecosystems in all areas: education, research, innovation and campus life.

Main measures adopted:

Several plans and strategies have been adopted: 

  • ‘National Low Carbon Strategy’ to produce the knowledge and develop the social and technological innovations needed for a fair and equitable transition;
  • ‘National Climate Change Adaptation Plan’ to pass on and refine knowledge and skills relating to environmental and sustainability issues to students, staff from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR), and the general public; 
  • ‘National Biodiversity Strategy 2030’ to protect biodiversity, restore it and live with it by promoting its benefits.

The implementation of these three strategic frameworks is based on three major missions:

  • The production of knowledge that must be widely shared in order to enlighten society, promote public debate and support public policy;
  • The transmission of knowledge and the construction of a new range of training courses for students, teacher-researchers and all the MERS' staff in order to ensure the dissemination of new knowledge and the renewal of skills;
  • The firm commitment of national research bodies and higher education institutions to contribute to the decarbonisation of activities, but also to the reduction of their environmental impact, particularly on biodiversity.

Funding and material resources:

Funding: not specified.

Material resources:

  • At institutional level, one of the key measures is the provision, from the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, of 'common core' training modules on the challenges of the ecological transition for all undergraduate students. These modules last at least 30 hours, aside from working hours, and may lead to certification in accordance with the procedures laid down by the institution. 
  • It is also planned to evaluate the sustainable development policy applied to research activities, real estate, transfer and training activities, which must take sustainable development issues into account.

Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms:

  • Not specified

References: Plan_climat_MESR_4.pdf (


Policies for people with disabilities in higher education and research

Running period: The 2024 Finance Bill provides additional funding for educational support and grants for students with disabilities.

Status : In force

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education and Research

Reasons/objectives: The Ministry pursues a policy of inclusion for people with disabilities, in terms of reception and support, but also in terms of professional integration, whether they are students or staff in the higher education and research sector.

Main measures adopted:

Initiatives for students with disabilities:

  • Educational support and facilities : Students with disabilities can benefit from compensatory, human and technical assistance. These arrangements also apply to examinations and competitive examinations. 
  • Scholarships : Since the start of the 2023 academic year, students with disabilities, and students caring for a parent with a disability, have benefited from a supplement of 4 load points to facilitate their access to grants based on social criteria.
  • Disability doctoral contracts: The ministry's PhD disability campaign offers funding for contracts to students with a thesis project who are recognised as being eligible for compulsory employment.

Actions to promote the professional integration of disabled staff and students.:

  • Agreement signed between "France Universités" and the "Fonds pour l'insertion des personnes handicapées dans la fonction publique" (FIPHFP), under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Administration and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Funding and material resources:


  • 23 M€ allocated to schools to provide educational support for students with specific needs related to their disorder or disability (+50% increase compared to 2023);
  • 10 M€ funding to support students with disabilities in the 2024 Finance Bill;
  • 1,5 M€ an initial call for projects to identify exemplary universities in terms of student accessibility.

Material resources:

  • The website, co-published by the Ministry and CNOUS, provides a detailed description of accessibility measures in the higher education establishments listed, as well as a map of accessible or adaptable accommodation in university halls of residence.

References: Les politiques en faveur des personnes en situation de handicap dans l'ESR |



Support for students

Deadline: Announced on 29 March 2023

Status: Implementation at the start of the 2023-2024 academic year

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education and Research

Reasons/objectives: The reform of the system of grants based on social criteria aims to "Help more, help better" students from modest households, from the start of the 2023-24 academic year.

Main measures adopted:

  • Help more students by increasing the number of grant holders: 35,000 middle-class students will become grant holders and will receive at least a €1,450 grant (paid over 10 months), along with the associated benefits (exemption from tuition fees and the student and campus life contribution (CVEC), €1 meals, priority for CROUS accommodation).
  • Provide better support, by increasing the value of all grants (+€37/month for all grant holders and +€67/month for overseas grant holders).
  • Put an end to threshold effects as of 2023-2024. Changes to the system will aim to eliminate them on a permanent basis. The amount of a student's grant will continue to depend on their parents' income. However, no student will see their grant reduced by more than the increase in their parents' income.
  • Limit catering and accommodation costs by :
    • Maintaining a very social price structure for meals for students on grants and those in precarious situations,
    • Freezing meal prices for the start of the 2023-24 academic year (very social price of €1 and social price of €3.30 for other students),
    • Freezing rents in CROUS residences.

Funding: over €500 million

Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms: Not specified.

References: Première étape de la réforme des bourses sur critères sociaux : aider plus, aider mieux, dès la rentrée 2023

Contracts for objectives, resources and performance

Deadlines: Announced 30 August 2023

Status: In force

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR)

Reasons/objectives: The Contracts of Objectives, Resources and Performance (COMP) introduce performance monitoring of institutions on the pursuit of strategic objectives shared by the ministry and the institution.

Main measures adopted:

These contracts provide support for priority public policies. In addition, an objective specific to the particular strategy of each institution is also included in these contracts.

The priority public policy objectives concern:

  • The mobilisation of higher education and research in favour of training that prepares students for the professions of the future, those in short supply or those undergoing change;
  • The well-being and success of students: health, diversity, inclusion, support for success, etc;
  • The development of research and innovation at the highest European and international level;
  • The mobilisation of higher education and research in favour of the ecological transition and sustainable development in all its dimensions;
  • Optimising the management and steering of the institution.

As part of the first wave 2023-2027, 17 contracts (involving 36 institutions, universities and schools) will be signed shortly for a total of more than €100 million over 3 years. Following on from the first wave, the MESR is announcing the list of institutions that will take part in waves 2 and 3 of the Contracts of Objectives, Resources and Performance, in 2024 and 2025 respectively.

Funding: €100 million for each of the three waves

Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms: under development.

References: Le MESR dévoile les deux nouvelles vagues de Contrats d’objectifs, de moyens et de performance

Deadlines: Implementation from February 2023

Status: being set up

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education and Research

Reasons/objectives: This platform aims to simplify the application process for students applying for Masters courses throughout France.

Main measures adopted:

To facilitate the application process for students, the new:

  • Lists all the Master's courses on offer in France, as well as the number of places available per course;
  • Serves as a one-stop shop for all applications;
  • Introduce a single national calendar, which in particular ensures the allocation of Master's degree places before the summer holidays.

When the application phase opens, applications may be made, on the basis of a common file, for 15 masters courses in traditional training and 15 masters courses in sandwich training. Applications will not be prioritised by the applicants, so that they do not self-censor. Institutions remain responsible for the admission of applicants. The process of examining applications by the programmes will be based, as it is today, on an assessment of the applicants' project, their motivation, their background and their transcripts. Depending on the specificities of the courses, functionalities will allow institutions to create forms allowing them to ask additional questions to applicants.

There are no algorithms or decision support tools for the courses: the platform only serves to facilitate the matching of applicants with the offer of a Master's degree.

Funding: Not specified.

Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms: Not specified.

References: MESRI: MESRI unveils the identity of the new national platform "

National plan to combat racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination on grounds of origin 2023-2026

Deadline: Announced 3 February 2023

Status: In force

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-LGBT Hatred (DILCRAH)

Reasons/objectives: Following on from the 2018 plan against racism and anti-Semitism, this new plan contains 80 actions and pursues 5 main ambitions, namely:

  • Measuring the reality of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination ;
  • Daring to name the reality of hate;
  • Better education and training;
  • Sanctioning the perpetrators ;
  • Accompanying victims.

Main measures adopted :

From a higher education perspective, the main measures are as follows

  • The guarantee for each pupil to benefit from a historical or memorial visit related to racism, anti-Semitism or anti-Gypsyism during their schooling.
  • The training of all civil servants in the State civil service in these issues.
  • The implementation of a real policy of reinforced testing on discrimination in hiring and access to housing.
  • Facilitating the filing of complaints by victims, in particular by developing direct filing at the headquarters of certain associations and the partial anonymisation of complaints.
  • Increased penalties for racist or anti-Semitic expression committed by public officials in the exercise of their duties.

Funding: Not specified.

Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms: Not specified.

References: MESRI: National plan to combat racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination on grounds of origin 2023-2026


There was no major measure in this domain this year.


Modification of the modalities for the allocation of the aide ponctuelle

Timeframe: Circular published on 28 January 2021.

Status: Circular n°2014-0016 of 8 October 2014 is amended by the circular of 28 January 2021.

Responsible authorities: Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

Reasons / Objectives: Following the COVID-19 crisis, the conditions of attribution as well as the amounts of the specific and occasional support to students have been modified.

Main measures adopted: The circular of 28 January 2021 specifies that, from now on, any student enrolled in an initial higher education course in France, regardless of nationality, whether or not they receive a need-based grant, may apply for punctual financial aid.

The amount of this punctual financial aid is increased from step 1 of a higher education grant on social criteria (1,707 euros) to step 2 (2,751 euros).

Funding: Unknown.

Evaluation and monitoring mechanism: Unknown.

References: MENJS : circulaire du 28 janvier 2021.

Santé psy étudiants

Timeframe: Measure announced on 10 March 2021.

Status: In force.

Responsible authorities: Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

Reasons / Objectives: In the current health crisis, free psychological support is offered to students who feel the need for it.

Main measures adopted: The Santé Psy Étudiants scheme has been set up for students experiencing difficulties. The aim is to enable those who need and want to follow a care pathway and consult a psychologist free of charge.

During the health crisis, the State covers the cost of sessions with a psychologist as part of a care programme and without advance payment. The student benefits from three 45-minute sessions with this psychologist to whom he or she has been referred by a general practitioner or the University Health Service (SSU). If, at the end of these three consultations, the need to continue the support becomes apparent, the SSU or the general practitioner can renew the sessions up to three times.

Funding: Unknown.

Evaluation and monitoring mechanism: Unknown.

References: MESRI : Santé psy étudiants.

Ministry, and they welcomed nearly 170 students enrolled in distance learning courses and supported by tutors.  In total, for the academic year 2020-2021, 33 connected campuses have been labelled.

Funding: The success of these Connected Campuses and the interest of local authorities in the scheme justified the launch in February 2020 of a new call for projects with a provisional budget of €25 million as part of the Future Investment Programme (PIA) in order to have a hundred or so Connected Campuses by 2022 at the latest. As part of the first wave of selection, 25 projects have been selected, of which the territorial promoters and partner universities will benefit from a maximum funding of €300,000 in 5 years.

Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms: evaluation mechanisms for PIA calls for projects.

References: MESRI : Les lieux labellisés Campus connecté ; MESRI : Prolongation de l'appel à projets Campus connecté jusqu'au 15 avril 2020