France vs USA: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?

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France and the USA are known for their high-ranked prominent universities offering world-class education and facilities. Along with high-quality education, these countries also offer a wide range of opportunities in terms of employment. So, it is not surprising that thousands of students choose to pursue their higher education in France and the USA. If you are confused about whether you should study in France or the USA, then keep reading because we will clear all your confusion and remove the doubts related to France vs USA from your mind. We will compare these countries and finally conclude which one is a better study-abroad destination. 

Parameters FranceUSA
Area551,695 KM²9.834 Million KM²
CurrencyEuro (€)United States Dollar ($)
CapitalParisWashington, D.C.
Total Higher Education ProvidersOver 3,500 Public and Private Institutes4,313
Total Indian Students Studying10,000211,930 
Average Cost of Living€918.2 – €3,273.8$2,500 – $3,500 Per Month
Average Cost of Studying€600 – €800 / Month$7,000 – $55,000 Per Year
Popular Job SectorsPharmacy, Psychology, Radiology, Architecture, Journalism, and HealthcareTech and IT, Energy, Marketing/Creative, Life sciences, Healthcare, Retail, E-commerce, and Business Services 
Permitted Part-Time Working Hours20 Hours Per WeekUp To 20 Hours Per Week During School Sessions and Full Time During Holidays

Top Universities: France vs USA

Selecting the right university is crucial for your career. The right institute equips you with high-in-demand skills and provides placement security. We have listed below a list of top universities in France and the USA. At the end of this section, we will find out which county has the best universities. We will give +2 points to the country with the higher-ranked universities. 

Universities in France

Here are some of the top universities in France:

Top Universities in FranceQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024
Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres)24 47
Ecole Polytechnique38
Sorbonne University5975
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon184
Ecole des Ponts ParisTech192 401–500
Université de Paris236
Sciences Po Paris319501–600
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne328801–1000
ENS Paris-Saclay7158

Universities in the USA

Here are some of the best universities in the US:

Top Universities in the USQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1
Harvard University42
Stanford University53
University of California Berkeley (UCB)108
University of Chicago1113 
University of Pennsylvania1214
Cornell University1320 
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)156
Yale University169
Princeton University177
Columbia University2311
Johns Hopkins University2815
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)2921
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor3323
New York University (NYU)3824 

Which Country is Better?

As apparent from the above tables, universities in the USA hold a higher rank than the universities in France. As a result, we will grant +2 points to the USA in this round of France vs USA. 

Also Read: UK vs France: Find out the Best Study Destination for Students

Admission Requirements

You should understand the admission criteria in both France and the USA before you make a choice between these two nations for pursuing education. In this section, we will see the admission requirements for the universities in each country. 

Admission Requirements For France

Here is a list of eligibility criteria you need to meet in order to get admission to a French university: 

  • Applicants are required to be at least 18 years old.
  • Students can get a short-stay visa in case they attend a training course that lasts less than three months.
  • Students will be granted a temporary long-stay visa if their training course lasts over three months or six months, and they will not need to finish any further paperwork when they arrive in France.
  • Students will be given a long-stay visa, which is equal to a residency permit if their training lasts for more than six months. 
  • The students also have to submit the following documents: 
  1. Two passport-size photos
  2. A visa application form for a France study visa
  3. An official Letter of Acceptance/Enrolment from the University in France
  4. A valid passport and copies of your previous visas if any
  5. Air flight reservation/ticket with the date of departure
  6. If you have enrolled in a course taught in French, you will need a proficiency certificate for the French language
  7. Evidence of payment of Visa fees
  8. Evidence of monetary means for covering all expenses during the period of study
  9. Documents that state the arrangement for accommodation during your studies
  10. Medical insurance that can cost around 30,000 Euros yearly
  11. If applicable, proof of civil status

Admission Requirements For USA

Let’s have a look at the eligibility criteria you must fulfil in order to be deemed eligible for admission to US universities:

  • You should have a TOEFL score of 55 to 79, or equivalent for bachelor’s level programs. 
  • You are required to have a TOEFL score of 55 to 89 or the equivalent for master’s level programs. 
  • Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 to 3.5 or above in their previous studies. 
  • Students must have a minimum SAT score of 1500-1600, an ACT score of 25, a PTE Academic score of 50-70, an IELTS score of 6-6.5, and an iTEP score of 3.7.
  • You must have completed high school or the equivalent. 
  • Students must have a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent if they wish to apply for a master’s degree program. 
  • You also need to provide a recommendation, letters of resumes, an essay, and a copy of your current passport. 
  • Students also have to provide proof of financial support, which is needed for the I-20 Form

Which Country is Better?

As we can see from the above comparison, the admission process for the universities in France is easier than in the USA. Hence, France will be given a +2 score in this round of our France vs USA contest. 

Also Read: Part-Time Jobs in France 

Tuition Fees

In this section, we will discover which country has the lowest educational expenses. The country with the lowest cost of education will be granted +2 points. So, let us compare tuition fees in France and the USA. 

Tuition Fees in France

As per the websites of the universities in France, the average annual tuition fees in the nation are as follows: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate €600 – €30,000
Doctoral€380 – €30,000

Tuition Fees in the USA

As per the websites of the universities in the USA, the average annual tuition fees in the country are as follows: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate $8,000 – $40,000
Postgraduate$10,000 – $60,000
Doctoral$28,000 – $55,000

Which Country is Better?

The tables above show that the cost of studying in France is lower than in the USA. Hence, we will grant +2 points to France in this round of France vs USA. 

Also Read: Bonjour! Learn the 10 Best Ways to Say Hello in French!

Living Expenses

Cost of living is one of the major concerns for an international student when he/she is planning to study in a foreign country. In this section, we will compare the cost of living in France and the USA, and conclude which country has a lower living expense. 

Cost of Living in France 

As per Numbeo, the cost of living in France is as follows:

Monthly Rent €589.50 – €1,408.42
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)€4,231.83 – €5,813.26
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal €15
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly)€61.37 
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)€229.03

Cost of Living in the USA

As per Numbeo, the cost of living in the USA is as follows:

Monthly Rent $1,382.53 – $3,055.29
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)$3,205.66 – $4,725.85 
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal $20
Average Transportation Cost$70
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)$306.27 Per Month

Which Country is Better?

As clear from the above comparison, the overall cost of living in France is lower than the cost of living in the USA. Hence, we will give +2 points to France in this section of our France vs USA contest. 

Also Read: Study in France for Indian Students 2023

Work Permit and PR

It is the aim of almost every international student to gain employment and eventually obtain permanent residency in the country where they are studying. We will compare the easiness of getting a work visa and permanent residency in France and the USA in this section. 

Work Permit in France

Here is how a work permit is given in France:

Eligibility Requirements for a Work Permit in France:

To become eligible for a France Work Visa, the applicant has to meet the criteria given below: 

  • You must possess a valid passport.
  • You must have been offered a job in France. 
  • You need to have all the documents that are specified in the application form. 
  • You can only work within the scope of work time mentioned in your respective work permits and are not allowed to exceed the specified time. 
  • You will also need to provide the following documents:
  1. A valid passport with expiry at least 3 months beyond the intended duration of stay,
  2. A duly filled France visa application form,
  3. A photocopy of the first and last page of the passport,
  4. CV of the employee,
  5. Copies of all education qualifications,
  6. Recent color photographs,
  7. Employer’s reference letter,
  8. Company’s appointment letter,
  9. Past employment testimonials, and 
  10. A detailed description of the type of work to be performed by the applicant in France

Steps to Apply for France Work Permit

Follow the steps given below to apply for a work permit in France: 

1st Step:  Determine the type of permit you are applying for, based on the job role and duration of employment. 

2nd Step: Duly fill out the work permit application. 

3rd Step: Arrange all the documents for the France work permit

4th Step: Schedule an appointment to submit the required documents and Biometrics at VAC (Visa Application Centre).

5th Step: Now, wait for the decision from the Embassy/Consulate.

The France work visa processing time is usually around 15 to 20 working days after you have submitted the documents to the French Embassy/Consulate.

PR in France 

If you wish to live in France for an extended time, or even permanently, you can be eligible for a France permanent residence permit or French citizenship after five years. This time is reduced in some situations like marriage to or becoming a parent of a French national.

Work Permit in the USA

Here is how a work permit is given in the US:

Eligibility for a Work Permit in the US

The immigrants who are eligible to obtain a work permit in the US include:

  • K-1 Fiance Visa holders,
  • DACA recipients,
  • Immigrants with extraordinary abilities,
  • Immigrants with pending adjustment of status (green card) applications,
  • Asylees,
  • Certain exchange visitors,
  • Immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED),
  • Spouses of some visa holders,
  • F-1 students who are experiencing financial hardship who want to apply for optional practical training (OPT), and 
  • Approved temporary workers.

Apply for a Work Permit in the US

Follow the steps given below to apply for a work permit in the United States:

1st Step: You need to apply for an immigration status that will enable you to work in the United States. 

2nd Step: After this, fill out the USCIS Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization to apply for a work permit in the USA. 

3rd Step: Arrange and submit the mandatory documents, which include a copy of your original Form I-94 travel record, a copy of your passport photo page, and two 2-inch-by-2-inch passport-style photos of yourself. 

4th Step: Now, proceed with your application by paying the filing fee. The majority of the I-765 forms are charged an amount of $410 by the USCIS. 

5th Step: Submit your work permit application to USCIS after you have filled out Form I-765, compiled all supporting documents, and paid the application fee.

Form I-765 is typically processed in 6.7 months by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

PR in the USA

Green Cards, which are also called alien registration cards, are valid for a duration of 10 years. In case an individual has been a lawful permanent resident for 5 years via employment or 3 years through marriage to a citizen of the USA, then that person can petition for citizenship.

Which Country is Better?

As you can see, it is easier to get a work permit and PR in USA than in France. Hence, we will award +2 points to France in this round of our France vs USA contest.

Also Read: The Emile Boutmy Scholarship

Average Salaries: France vs USA

The average salary is €39,800 per year in France after graduation according to WeAreDevelopers, while it is €48,058 after postgraduation as per Glassdoor. On the other hand, the average yearly salary is $55,260 after graduation in the United States according to Indeed. The annual salary stands at $85,502 after completing postgraduate studies in the nation according to Indeed. 

Which Country is Better?

As we can see from the above comparison, the average salary in the USA is more than the average salary in France. Hence, we will grant a score of +2 points to the USA in this section of France vs USA. 

Also Read: Study a Bachelor in Biology in the USA: A Guide

Other Major Elements

Let’s see some other important considerations you should keep in mind when choosing a country to pursue education. Here are some of these important considerations:


France experiences about an equal average temperature throughout the year to Seattle, Washington, although the latter experiences drier summers with much wetter winters. The USA, on the other hand, has a diverse climate, which ranges from Florida to Arctic Alaska.


Both France and the USA are relatively safe countries on a global scale. While the USA has a greater crime rate in comparison to France, the crime rate varies greatly by location and city, and the nation is mostly very safe.

Culture for International Students

The warm and welcoming nature of people in France makes the journey of international students in France a little easier. On the other hand, while international students can experience cultural shifts in the USA, they will definitely benefit from the cross-cultural experience. 

Also Read: GRE and TOEFL Scores For Top US Universities


When we compute the total scores of France and the USA, we find that both of them have scored 6 points each. Hence, there is a tie between France and the USA.

Final Result US vs france

However, please keep in mind that both France and the USA have their own pros and cons. So, carefully choose a degree before you apply for admission to any of the country’s universities. Consider the available educational facilities and financial aid for the program of your choice so that you can make a better-informed decision. With that being said, both France and the USA are really great study-abroad destinations, providing equal opportunities to international students. 

Also Read: Masters in Digital Marketing in USA


Ques 1. Is it better to study in the USA or France?

Ans. Both France and the USA are excellent study-abroad destinations that offer world-class education and a wide range of employment opportunities. 

Ques 2. Why France is famous for students?

Ans. France is a popular destination for international students because of its high-quality education and a great environment for both socializing and studying. 

Ques. Why choose France for study abroad?

Ans. France is an ideal study-abroad destination because of its rich culture, architecture, gastronomy, and thriving student life. Along with placement opportunities, studying in France gives you a chance to learn French and get cultural perspectives. 

So, this was all about France vs. the USA. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counseling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad

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