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French University System-Mess Defies Easy Solution
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Dec 6, 1986
Start Page: 9
Section: 1; Foreign Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

-It would allow universities to set entrance requirements both for the university and for certain faculties. To some extent, this happens anyway. Some universities accept students with the baccalaureate in the order in which they apply. But others, like the University of Paris at the Sorbonne, for example, have rigid entrance requirements. The students know this but insist that the elitist trend should be turned back and not encouraged by a new law.

-The legislation would allow the universities to increase their fees. The government says that it plans to allow universities at first to do no more than double the present matriculation fee of 400 francs ($60) a year. Higher education is free but the universities levy the fee to cover administrative, enrollment and insurance costs. Students recognize that the French fee, even when doubled, would still be far less than those in a country like the United States. But the students note that the law opens the gates for possible escalation of costs in the future, thus putting the universities out of the range of poorer students.

-The legislation would allow universities to issue their own diplomas. At present, students receive the same national diploma no matter which of the 70 universities they attend. Autonomous universities setting their own entrance requirements and issuing separate diplomas, according to the students, would make the system even more elite, with the diplomas of one university surely having more value than the diplomas of another.

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