An increasing number of students from Latin America and the Caribbean are coming to the United States for higher education, according to the 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
More than 86,000 students from the region came to the North American country in the previous academic year. Interestingly, there has been a sudden surge in the number of Brazilian students pursuing education in the U.S. Students from Brazil increased 78 percent to 23,675, according to the report.
Globally, Brazilians alone accounted for 12 percent of foreign students who came to the US for education. Analysts have attributed Brazil’s Scientific Mobility Program for this sudden surge. Funded by the government, the Scientific Mobility Program is designed to encourage Brazilians to pursue higher education in STEM skills.
Some public-private partnerships and exchange initiatives spearheaded by both the U.S. and several Latin American governments have contributed to this growth.
According to the report, carried by USNews, Latin America and the Caribbean was the fastest growing region for international students in the U.S., increasing by 19 percent over the prior year. The number of students coming from Mexico and Venezuela is also on the rise.
But Latin Americans account for only 9 percent of international students in the U.S. The highest numbers were from China and India. Report says there were 18,173 non-degree students from the LAC region in 2014-2015, a 116.5 percent jump from 2013-2014.
Some analysts attribute this increase to ‘100,000 Strong in the Americas‘, an initiative that President Obama launched. The goal of this program is to bring in 100,000 students from Latin America by 2020.
With the middle class in Latin America growing by 50 million in the last decade, analysts say more students will make their way to the US in the years to come. Education is big business in the United States. Foreign students contribute about $24 billion annually to the U.S. economy.