USA targets Iraqi students

Iraq: Governments Work on Grants for Iraqis to Study in the U.S.

With the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq, the U.S. State Department and Iraqi government are beginning to step up efforts to enroll thousands of Iraqi students in American universities.

The number of Iraqi students studying in the United States was up 45 percent in the 2010-11 school year, according to recent data from the Institute of International Education. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has earmarked $1 billion to be spent on education initiatives over the next several years, part of which will go towards funding scholarships for 2,500 students to attend U.S. universities in 2012. The new scholarship scheme is expected to increase fourfold the number of Iraqi students in the U.S. from 616 in 2010-11.

While the Iraqi government has begun pouring money into education, the State Department has launched an outreach effort to identify some of Iraq’s brightest students and connect them with American universities, reports USA Today. Recruiters from 22 American universities attended a college fair sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in October in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil. They met with nearly 1,500 students, most of whom were already approved for Iraqi government-funded scholarships.

The State Department also assisted Iraq’s Ministry of Education in getting ready to hold a major conference in Washington in January to recruit American universities to bring students to U.S. campuses.

– USA Today
December 11, 2011

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