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US – Opening Doors for Foreign Students Act of 2005 to counter misperceptions

In July 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to authorize spending levels for educational and cultural exchanges. For the first time, this bill includes an amendment, titled “Opening Doors for Foreign Students Act of 2005”, that calls for the development of a comprehensive strategy by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Education and Commerce, to attract foreign students to study in the United States.

Specifically, the amendment directs the Secretary of State to develop “a comprehensive strategy to counter widespread perceptions among foreign students that the U.S. no longer welcomes them to study in the United States or to participate in exchange programs, and to increase applications by foreign students to come to the United States for study and exchange.”

The legislation would authorize State Department educational and cultural exchanges to spend $428.9 million in 2006, and $438.5 million in 2007.  For 2006, this level is $1.5 million lower than the $430.3 million requested by President Bush.  The President will request a funding level for the 2007 programmes when he presents his FY 2007 budget early next year. 

Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fisal Years 2006 and 2007