U.S. Colleges Receive More Zimbabwean Students

Zimbabwean students in the United States
Zimbabwean students in the United States

The 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released November 16th, shows that the number of Zimbabwean students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by 11 per cent since 2011 to a high of 1245 students in the 2014/15 academic year. This represents a 3.5 per cent increase from 2013/14 academic year. This continued growth confirms that the United States remains a destination of choice in higher education for Zimbabweans. The number of American students studying in Zimbabwe has also increased during the period by 400 per cent from 9 students in 2010 to 47 this year.

The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Globally, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities had the highest rate of growth in 35 years, increasing by ten percent to a record high of 974,926 students in the 2014/15 academic year. The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country.

The report also found the number of U.S. students studying abroad increased by five percent in 2013/14, the highest rate of growth since before the 2008 economic downturn. While study abroad by American students has more than tripled in the last two decades, reaching a new high of 304,467, still only about 10 percent of U.S. students study abroad before graduating from college.

The release of the new Open Doors data marks the celebration of International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. The statistics reported in IIE’s Open Doors document how internationalized U.S. higher education has become, with a large growth in student mobility at host and sending institutions representing all types of colleges and universities and located across the United States.

“We are excited to see that record numbers of students are taking advantage of international education opportunities, and we applaud the efforts of U.S. higher education as we work together to increase the number of American students who study abroad,” said Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. “It is critical that we continue to make study abroad more accessible. These exchanges strengthen ties between the United States and countries around the world. By increasing accessibility to study abroad, we are investing in our future and providing a forum to solve global challenges.”

“International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education,” said IIE’s President Dr. Allan E. Goodman. “Studying abroad is one of the best ways undergraduate and graduate students gain the international experience necessary to succeed in today’s global workforce. And studying in another country prepares students to be real contributors to working across borders to address key issues in the world we share.”

In 2014/15, there were 88,874 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education compared to the previous year. India, China and Brazil account for most of the growth in international students on U.S. campuses.

The number of students from sub Saharan Africa increased to 33,593 from 31,113 in 2014. Zimbabwe is the sixth largest sending country in the region in terms of the number of students studying in the US, behind Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Students from the top three countries of origin – China, India, and South Korea – now represent approximately 51 percent of the total enrollment of international students in the United States, with the number from China and India increasing, and the numbers from South Korea declining by six percent.

Further details on the Open Doors 2015 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website. It is published by the Institute of International Education, an independent not-for-profit organization with a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State leads a wide range of academic, professional, and cultural exchanges that include approximately 50,000 participants annually, including the flagship Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program, with the goal of increasing mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The U.S. Embassy maintains four EducationUSA Advising Centers in Harare (Eastgate, Public Affairs Offices), Bulawayo (Bulawayo Public Library), Gweru (Gweru Memorial Library) and Mutare (Turner Memorial Library) where Zimbabweans may obtain information about study opportunities in the U.S.

The U.S. Embassy also offers Fulbright grants for study and research in the U.S. and several other exchange programs for short-term programs in the U.S. Visit https://zw.usembassy.gov/ for more information.