When it comes to international higher education in the United States it is hard to ignore the elephant (and tiger) in the room. Indeed, according to the latest Open Doors data, China and India represented the two leading places of origin for students coming to the United States. Together they account for more than a third of the total number of inbound students, China (25.4%) and India (13.1%) are clearly too big to ignore. Still, those who focus on these two titans to the exclusion of other emerging markets like Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Mexico, and especially Brazil do so at their peril. After all, the long tail of international student exchange means that broad-based recruitment efforts encourage both campus diversity and long-term success.


Brazil, in particular, represents a unique opportunity because of the availability of financial aid for Brazilian students in the US. Because that country’s government makes scholarships available to Brazilian students who wish to study in the US, would-be exchange students are less reliant on institutional grants and financial aid. The fact that this is welcome news to US colleges and universities – whose financial aid budgets have been strained in recent year – is borne out by the fact that more institutions than ever reported greater engagement with Brazil this year than in years past. Taken in conjunction with international student loans for Brazilian students, programs like Science Without Borders – which provides government-funded financial aid for Brazilian students in the US in order to encourage those students to cultivate technical skills by studying abroad – mean that more Brazilian students than ever can study abroad in the US.

Thus, given the possibilities of government-backed financial aid for Brazilian students in the US and the fact that many schools have stepped up their recruitment activities in Brazil by engaging in partnership activities with Brazilian institutions and conducting planning trips to Brazil, one thing is certain: the recent influx of Brazilian students in the US is a sign of things to come.