Growing Numbers of Zimbabweans Choose U.S. Higher Education
The number of Zimbabwean students pursuing higher education in the United States has seen a significant increase, according to the 2023 Open Doors Report released by the Institute of International Education.
The report reveals that the enrollment of Zimbabwean students at American colleges and universities has risen by 18.7% compared to the previous academic year.
For the 2022/23 academic year, a total of 1,789 Zimbabwean students were enrolled in higher education institutions across the United States.
This places Zimbabwe as the second leading country in sub-Saharan Africa, based on per capita representation, and the sixth in terms of overall student numbers in the United States.
Notably, the number of Zimbabwean undergraduate students has experienced a substantial surge, with a 24.4% increase, marking one of the most significant growth rates among sub-Saharan African nations.
While South Africa and the United Kingdom remain the top two destination countries for Zimbabweans studying abroad, the rising interest in U.S. higher education among Zimbabwean students underscores the strong bonds between Zimbabwe and the United States.
The distribution of Zimbabwean students studying in the United States is as follows: 51.4% are pursuing undergraduate degrees, 29.4% are enrolled in graduate programs, and 17% are engaged in optional practical training (OPT). The remaining students are enrolled in non-degree programs.
Various factors contribute to the success of Zimbabwean students’ applications and acceptance to U.S. institutions. Academic, athletic, and creative scholarships provide opportunities for many students to pursue their education in the United States.
The U.S. Embassy’s EducationUSA program plays a vital role in providing information and guidance to Zimbabwean students interested in tertiary studies in the United States.
EducationUSA advisors located in Harare, Gweru, Mutare, and Bulawayo assist students in finding the best-fit institutions from the diverse range of options available in the United States.
Moreover, EducationUSA offers Opportunity Funds to high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds, helping to remove financial barriers related to applications and travel expenses.
The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe also maintains robust exchange programs that facilitate academic and professional exchanges between Zimbabwe and the United States.
The embassy prioritizes visa appointments for student and exchange visitors. Over the past decade, more than 500 Zimbabweans have participated in the U.S. Fulbright Program, which represents just a fraction of the nearly two dozen exchange programs offered by the embassy.
These efforts highlight the embassy’s commitment to fostering international student mobility and promoting U.S.-Zimbabwean university partnerships.
On a global scale, the overall number of international students choosing U.S. universities and colleges has increased by 11.5%, surpassing 1 million students from countries worldwide.
In recognition of the importance of international education, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education are celebrating the 24th annual International Education Week from November 13-17, 2023. This joint initiative aims to emphasize the United States’ dedication to international education and the numerous benefits of study and exchange programs.
The statement also reaffirms that international student mobility plays a crucial role in diplomacy, innovation, economic prosperity, and national security, as outlined in the recently released Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education by the U.S. Departments of State and Education.
The growing number of Zimbabwean students choosing U.S. higher education reflects the increasing recognition of the quality and opportunities offered by American institutions.
It signifies the strengthening ties between Zimbabwe and the United States and highlights the potential for further educational collaborations and exchanges between the two countries.