Exchanges in the media

During this week’s House State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on the administration’s FY2018 budget request for the Department of State, Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent (R) voiced his strong support for educational and cultural exchange programs and expressed concern about the 55% cut to exchange program funding proposed by the Trump administration for FY2018.

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Educational and cultural exchange programs were mentioned twice during a hearing of the Senate State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee this week. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared before the committee to review the administration’s FY2018 budget request for the U.S. Department of State.

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With an interest to increase cultural diversity, international enrollment, and revenue, some U.S. universities are seeking public-private partnerships to create or host international high schools on their campuses. As reported by Inside Higher Ed, this trends allows students to obtain university credits and a high school diploma simultaneously, while institutions benefit from a new international recruitment pathway.

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International mobility of Australian university students has largely increased since last year, according to the most recent release of an annual survey of Australian universities administered by the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training. Data collected from 36 universities indicate a 19.5% increase in the number of international experiences reported since 2014. Most notably, student exchange programs and faculty-led study tours were the most popular types of international experiences, at 28% and 26% respectively.

President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order granting Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) to alumni of three federally-funded Department of State academic exchange programs: the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, and the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. Non-Competitive Eligibility is a specific hiring mechanism that provides an easier selection path for U.S. government positions.

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In light of the recent terrorist attacks and threats in countries like France, Italy, Belgium, the UK, and Bangladesh, higher education institutions in the United States are reevaluating security measures and crisis management procedures for their study abroad programs in destinations around the globe, according to a recent article by the Atlantic.

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The recently appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Honorable Theresa May, is an alumna of the 2004 cohort of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), according to Meridian, one of the partners implementing the premier program.

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Dozens of officials from colleges and universities in the United States have traveled to Cuba in order to strengthen and restore cultural ties, a goal that the U.S. has been trying to achieve for many years now due largely to new partnerships forming between higher education institutions in both nations, according to Education Dive.

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NAFSA: Association of International Educators is calling on the next President and Congress to adopt policies that will advance international education and study abroad, and help create a more “welcoming and globally engaged United States,” the PIE News reported recently.  

The British referendum last week to leave the European Union (EU) will have consequences for higher education in Europe, the United States, and beyond, according to the PIE News.

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