France

Recent developments:

  • New law passed in 2013 introducing changes in university governance, including a reshaping of governing bodies and their responsibilities
  • Change in accreditation body and approach (validation of externally conducted evaluations)
  • Ability of universities to recruit students at Master level as of 2017
  • Re-configuration of the sector through concentration measures, including university communities and full-scale mergers

Organisational autonomy: medium low

Governance matters are significantly regulated by the state, including selection criteria, term of office and dismissal of the executive head. Governance structures include external members, partly appointed by the university. Institutions cannot fully decide on their academic structures but may create legal entities.

Financial autonomy: medium low

Universities receive an annual block grant, with limited possibility to move funds between pre-set categories. Universities can borrow money with the approval of an external authority. Some universities own their real estate and may sell their buildings. The level of tuition fees for all types of students studying at all levels is set by the state.

Academic autonomy: low

Admission to Bachelor’s programmes is entirely regulated by an external authority, while universities have gained the capacity to recruit students at Master level. All new degree programmes must be submitted to a prior accreditation to receive funding. Universities cannot choose either external quality assurance mechanisms or providers.

Staffing autonomy: medium low

The number of senior academic posts is regulated by an external authority. Recruitment for some senior administrative positions is also carried out externally on the basis of national competitions. Salary bands for all staff are prescribed by an external authority. Dismissal procedures are strictly regulated due to civil servant status of most staff. There are restrictions on promotions for all staff.

Organisational weighted 59% unweighted 56%

100

100% Selection procedure for the executive head

The selection of the executive head is not validated by an external authority

75

75% Selection criteria for the executive head

The law states that the executive head must hold an academic position

This applies to 13 other countries: Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Flanders, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden

0

0% Dismissal of the executive head

The dismissal is carried out by an external authority according to a procedure stated in the law

This does not apply to any other country.

0

0% Term of office of the executive head

The exact length is stated in the law

57

57% External members in university governing bodies

Universities cannot decide as they must include external members

External members are partly appointed by the university and partly by an external authority

This applies to 6 other countries: Austria, Croatia, Wallonia, Hesse, Iceland, Slovenia

60

60% Capacity to decide on academic structures

Guidelines exist in the law

This applies to 3 other countries: Iceland, Italy, Serbia

100

100% Capacity to create legal entities

Universities can create legal entities without constraints

Financial weighted 45% unweighted 33%

60

60% Length of public funding cycle

60

60% Type of public funding

Block grant is split into broad categories and there are no or limited possibilities to move funds between these

This applies to 7 other countries: Wallonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden

80

80% Ability to borrow money

Universities can borrow money with the approval of an external authority

This applies to 4 other countries: Croatia, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain

100

100% Ability to keep surplus

Surplus can be kept without restrictions

60

60% Ability to own buildings

Universities can sell their buildings without restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Wallonia, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom

Other restrictions

This applies to 2 other countries: Wallonia, Portugal

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 6 other countries: Croatia, Flanders, Wallonia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Master's level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 5 other countries: Croatia, Flanders, Wallonia, The Netherlands, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 3 other countries: Flanders, Wallonia, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 2 other countries: Austria, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Master's level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 2 other countries: Austria, Spain

0

0% Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 2 other countries: Austria, Spain

Staffing weighted 43% unweighted 42%

42

42% Recruitment procedures for senior academic staff

Appointments need to be confirmed by an external authority for some staff

This applies to 3 other countries: Croatia, Hungary, Poland

The number of posts is regulated by an external authority for all staff

This does not apply to any other country.

Other restrictions

58

58% Recruitment procedures for senior administrative staff

Recruitments are carried out by an external authority for some staff

This does not apply to any other country.

67

67% Salaries for senior academic staff

Salary bands are prescribed by an external authority for all staff

This applies to 4 other countries: Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Serbia

67

67% Salaries for senior administrative staff

Salary bands are prescribed by an external authority for all staff

This applies to 4 other countries: Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Serbia

0

0% Dismissal of senior academic staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 9 other countries: Croatia, Wallonia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain

0

0% Dismissal of senior administrative staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 7 other countries: Croatia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia

57

57% Promotion procedures for senior academic staff

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Denmark, Wallonia, Hesse, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia

43

43% Promotion procedures for senior administrative staff

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Denmark, Wallonia, Hesse, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia, Serbia, Slovenia

Academic weighted 37% unweighted 39%

0

0% Overall student numbers

Free admission

This applies to 5 other countries: Austria, Flanders, Wallonia, The Netherlands, Switzerland

0

0% Admissions procedures at Bachelor level

Admissions are entirely regulated by an external authority

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Flanders, Wallonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia, Switzerland

100

100% Admissions procedures at Master's level

Admission criteria are set by the university

40

40% Introduction of programmes at Bachelor level

All new degree programmes/courses must be submitted to prior accreditation to be funded

This applies to 3 other countries: Croatia, The Netherlands, Spain

40

40% Introduction of programmes at Master's level

All new degree programmes/courses must be submitted to prior accreditation to be funded

This applies to 3 other countries: Croatia, The Netherlands, Spain

0

0% Introduction of programmes at doctoral level

All new degree programmes/courses must be submitted to prior accreditation to be introduced

This applies to 9 other countries: Croatia, Wallonia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

100

100% Termination of degree programmes

Universities can terminate degree programmes independently

0

0% Language of instruction at Bachelor level

Universities can only offer degree programmes/courses in the national language

This does not apply to any other country.

83

83% Language of instruction at Master's level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for certain programmes

This applies to one other country: Lithuania

0

0% Selection of quality assurance mechanisms

Universities cannot select quality assurance mechanisms

0

0% Selection of quality assurance providers

Universities cannot choose the quality assurance agency

100

100% Capacity to design content of degree programmes

Universities can freely design the content of degree programmes and courses (other than for the regulated professions)