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Bush administration announces plans to internationalise American higher education

The Bush administration, at a conference  on international education, announced a package of measures aimed at enticing more foreign students to attend American institutions and at sending more Americans to study abroad. The measures include joint overseas trips by government and college officials to recruit foreign students, new Fulbright grants for foreign students coming to the US, and more help for low-income and community-college students to study abroad.

Plans to promote American higher education around the world had been already presented in a report by the Lincoln Commission last month (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe - December 2005). Bush reiterated many of the key points of the report but the fact that it was never credited is somewhat unusual as it was the main instrument of pressure on the White House for education reforms. Despite the lack of acknowledgement both the Lincoln Commission and college leaders welcomed the move hoping however that this was merely one stage of a larger process in accommodating greater international mobility within US higher education. Philip W. Eaton, president of Seattle Pacific University, speaking on behalf of the 120 leaders of colleges who were present at the conference said:I think this group is sort of dazzled and puzzled. We all wonder: What are the next steps? Will we continue to hear the president and secretary of state talking about higher education?’

The White House - press release