Visit by an American delegation

A delegation of representatives from Community Colleges, local universities in the United States, came to France for three days of meetings with representatives from French higher education. One of these days was spent visiting Université Paris-Sud’s three IUTs (University Institutes of Technology) and its Engineering School, Polytech Paris-Sud.


© M. LECOMPT / UPSUD

In 2014, the French and US governments adopted the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative, aimed at promoting student mobility between France and the United States. With this in mind, since 2016, the Embassy of France in the United States has developed a dedicated programme for Community College students. 

Community Colleges are indeed an under-represented population in student mobility programmes: although they account for nearly half of undergraduate students in the United States, only 1.8% of internationally mobile students come from Community Colleges. They are usually local, publically-funded institutions which provide education at a lower cost.

A significant driver for incoming and outgoing mobility to the United States

For a long time, Community Colleges, which on some points are similar to IUTs, have taught on a project basis and provide associate-degree level courses, both in general and technical subjects, and have an open access policy. They also play a fundamental role in continuing education and refresher training by co-operating closely with the local business sector in their area.

In the United States, the major universities are increasingly interested in Community College students and are trying to attract the most successful ones. Community Colleges are therefore a significant driver of recruitment and co-operation for any French educational institution.

New areas of co-operation with the United States for Paris-Sud’s institutions

In order to increase co-operation with French higher education institutions, the Embassy of France in the United States organised a visit to France by a delegation of ten representatives from Community Colleges from 5 to 7 November 2018. On the three-day schedule, there was a workshop with representatives from the Conference of University Presidents (CPU), meetings with officials from the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, etc.

And on 6 November, the ten members of the US delegation visited Université Paris-Sud which organised their visit to 3 IUTs, Cachan, Orsay and Sceaux, as well as the university’s School of Engineering, Polytech Paris-Sud.

These three visits helped to identify possible areas of co-operation, such as virtual exchanges, “co-teaching”, study semesters, internships and summer schools, which may interest IUT students in the very short term, and in the medium term those from prospective universities.

Contact: Chantal Escudié – International Relations Department – chantal.escudie @ u-psud.fr