With the official signing of the Peace Accord, Colombia has become the focus of much of the world’s attention, in the international education sector as the Colombian government has positioned education as a main engine for post conflict resolution.
In the 2016/17 academic year, 7,982 students from Colombia were studying in the United States (up 2.1% from the previous year). Colombia is the 22nd leading place of origin for students coming to the United States. Colombian students in the U.S. are fairly evenly divided between the graduate and undergraduate levels. In 2016/17, their breakdown was as follows: 40.7% undergraduate; 37.9% graduate students; 9.0% other; 12.3% OPT (Optional Practical Training).
The U.S. Embassy in Bogota has set a goal to double the number of Colombian students supporting technology projects such as Ed, a 24/7 virtual adviser in Spanish and various micro grant scholarships for English Language learning. The approval of the FTA between the U.S. and Colombia, has increased foreign investment and the need of academic mobility and exchange. Several commercial missions from individual U.S. States have visited Colombia and education has been a major focus. Colombian accredited universities have a unified exchange strategy called Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge http://www.challengeyourknowledge.edu.co/ to promote the country as a study destination and increase agreements with foreign countries. In Colombia, there is a strong network of 11 EducationUSA centers administering language programs and doing extensive outreach around the country. Advising centers are located at 9 binational centers, the Fulbright commission and COLFUTURO.
The Colombian Foundation, COLFUTURO, continues to offer loans/ scholarships to qualified Colombian graduate students to study abroad. Since 2012, COLFUTURO has also administered the COLCIENCIAS program, which, along with the National Planning Department program, provides funding for study leading to Doctoral degrees abroad in STEM areas. Passport to Science, one of the components of a larger Colombian government initiative called “Colombia Cientifica,” is offering loan scholarship opportunities for Colombians to study at the Master’s and Doctoral levels abroad.