Honduras Leads Central America in Students Pursuing Higher Education in the United States

TEGUCIGALPA – The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange released today finds the number of number of Honduran students enrolled in U.S. higher education increased by 16 percent this year, to an all-time high of 1,756. Honduras sends more bright promising students to the U.S. than any other country in Central America –more than Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Belize combined. The states of Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, and Louisiana received the highest number of Honduran students.

Overall, the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high in the 2013-14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education.

“The increase in students going to the U.S. for their higher education reflects the strong bonds between our countries and goes hand in glove with the push in Honduras for bilingual education,” said U.S. Ambassador James Nealon. “Just as English language competency is vital to a 21st century education, international experience is an important component at the university level in helping develop future leaders who will guide Honduras into the future.”

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, with almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country.

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.

The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa and its EducationUSA office are working hard to make sure that even more Hondurans have the opportunity to pursue a U.S. education. For International Education Week, November 17-21, the Embassy and EducationUSA are sponsoring numerous activities at the Centro Cultural Sampedrano, including a virtual college fair with over 150 U.S. universities.

“International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world,” said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “We also need to expand access to international education for students from more diverse backgrounds, in more diverse locations of study, getting more diverse types of degrees. Only by engaging multiple perspectives within our societies can we all reap the numerous benefits of international education -increased global competence, self-awareness and resiliency, and the ability to compete in the 21st century economy.”

“Study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree,” remarked IIE’s President Dr. Allan E. Goodman. “Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the word a less dangerous place.”

The new Open Doors data was released on the occasion of the 15th annual celebration of International Education Week, 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. This year’s statistics document how much more global U.S. higher education has become since the launch of the initiative. The overall number of international students in the United States has grown by 72 percent since the first International Education Week briefing was held in 2000. There are five times as many Chinese students on U.S. campuses as were reported in Open Doors 2000; almost two and a half times as many Indian and Vietnamese students; and more than ten times as many Saudi students. The number of U.S. students studying abroad has more than doubled in the last 15 years.

Open Doors 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 1,200 member institutions. IIE has conducted an annual statistical survey of the international students in the United States since its founding in 1919 and in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 1972. Open Doors also reports on the number of international scholars at U.S. universities; international students enrolled in pre-academic Intensive English Programs; and on U.S. students studying abroad. Further details on the Open Doors 2014 surveys and their findings is on the Open Doors website.

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 40,000 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.