Opportunity Funds: Opening More Doors to International Education

Posted by Meghann Curtis
November 21, 2012
Deputy Assistant Secretary Curtis and Executive Director Tyson With an Exchange Student

Last week, we celebrated International Education Week here in the United States and around the world. New data in our annual Open Doors Report shows that international students are coming to the United States in higher numbers than ever, and more American students are going abroad to more diverse places. Students who seize the chance to study abroad enrich classrooms across the globe and return to their home countries to become leaders who promote more prosperous, equitable, and stable societies. Here at the State Department, our goal is to help a wider range of students have access to international education.

On November 20, I had the opportunity to join Eileen Tyson, Executive Director for Client Relations at the Educational Testing Service, and two very impressive students from Africa currently studying in the U.S.-Lethabo Thutula from South Africa (Point Park University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and Imoleayo Abel from Nigeria (Swarthmore College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) -- to share exciting news. This year, we have paired up with the Education Testing Service to lower the cost of applying to colleges and universities in the United States for some of the most deserving students in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs supports a network of over 400 EducationUSA Advising Centers worldwide. The centers advise students about study in the United States, helping them choose institutions that are good fits for them, and navigate the application process. For some of those talented students, the cost of the application process itself makes study in the U.S. beyond reach -- including standardized testing, application fees, visa fees, sometimes travel to larger cities in their countries where testing centers are located, or that first flight to the United States.

To address these needs, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs makes Opportunity Funds support available through EducationUSA centers for students who want to study in the United States but need financial help to start the process. With this support, talented students abroad apply to a wide range of colleges and universities in the United States that offer financial aid for international students, in recognition of the value these bright minds bring to their own campuses and communities.

With ETS' help, our Opportunity Funds will go even further this year. ETS has donated 300 vouchers to be distributed to students in Sub-Saharan Africa to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, an international admissions requirement of colleges and universities across the United States. The gift of 300 tests free of charge will bring 300 students one step closer to study in the United States.

We are thrilled that more students like Lethabo and Imoleayo will be able to achieve their goals and enriched our classrooms here in the United States. And, in this week of Thanksgiving, we are grateful for public-private partnerships like this one with the Educational Testing Service that help us at the State Department broaden our impact.



Adri D.
United States
November 21, 2012

Adri D. writes:

Yea I understand, I must study a bit


Maryland, USA
November 21, 2012

Patrick in Maryland writes:

I was wondering, which countries are involved in these exchanges? And what kind of subjects do the students take for their majors?

This sounds like a a very helpful and exciting program to be part of.

I hope they excel in their studies abroad !

United States
November 25, 2012

Ted in the U.S.A. writes:

greetings, There is no doubt in my mind that we are in full melt down because of the yrs.of catostrophic nuclear dumping, horrific accidents,bombs laying on the ocean floor ,all of greenland,fukashema.Nato's plan to force citizens of the world to put these plants on gods creation. Education seems worthless to a generation that thinks this is safe and all that .

Anyway Im sure un members would walk out if they had any sense,and leave the nato countries to be torn apart by thier own citizens,when they finally understand the scope of contamination and the cost to this planet.Truly plastic people with plastic mentalities to beable to repeat this montras of death..Good luck with ur education goals,when thier energys are better spent stopping oil drilling in the artic.

Good lord,what is up with all of ur silence on the facism.Somebody better do something. First dont let them lie to the kids,no wonder they are so discusting in thier titilation with vileness,violance towards each other and to themselves. .they have got absolutly nothing to hold onto as nato will dictate thier fate.Please pass this on to hilary .obama.anyone to redeem us


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