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Higher Education

HEI Scholars
The flagship U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative provides opportunities for Egyptians to study in fields important to Egypt’s economic future – like science, engineering, and business.
USAID/Claudia Gutierrez

Overview

Fueled by increased demand, the Egyptian higher education system has expanded rapidly in the past few decades.  The university and technical college systems suffer from poor governance, underfunding, and lack of connection with the needs of the private sector. Universities are massively overcrowded, resulting in diminished teacher effectiveness and poor returns on education – public universities can have over 4,000 students attend one lecture. Disadvantaged students also lack opportunities to study at the best public and private universities. Despite being one of the world’s largest exporters of skilled labor, Egypt is suffering from a shortage of appropriately skilled technical and professional workers, making it more difficult for the business sector to deploy technologically advanced processes, products, and services.

The U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative, launched in 2014, provides hundreds of undergraduate scholarships to premier Egyptian universities for talented, underprivileged students in fields critical to Egypt’s sustained economic growth. The initiative also supports scholarships for women to attend U.S. universities for undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as graduate degrees in business. USAID is also partnering with Egyptian universities to establish state-of-the-art, university-based Career Development Centers (CDCs). These CDCs enable public universities to provide career guidance and job skills training to students, creating sustainable links between university students and the private sector job market.

USAID is also partnering with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to build capacity of Egyptian science and technology institutions, predominately institutes of higher education, to better contribute to human and economic development in Egypt.  The contribution of the U.S. scientific community and support connects Egyptian universities to international discussions of science and scholarship, resulting in joint research in one or more fields of relevance to national and economic development.   

Current Activities

U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI): This flagship initiative contains the following scholarship components in strategic fields that will contribute to Egypt’s economic prosperity: 

HEI STEM and MBA Scholarships for Women: Under the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative, this project provides scholarships to talented, high-achieving Egyptian women to pursue 98 MBAs and 62 undergraduate degrees in STEM fields in the U.S., with the aim of creating a cadre of highly-trained women leaders in these fields.  Implementing Partner: Institute of International Education; Life of Project: January 1, 2014-December 31, 2018; Total Estimated Cost: $30 million; Bilateral Agreement: The U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative.

HEI Local Scholarships for Public Universities: This activity provides 390 scholarships to Egyptian public school graduates to pursue programs in public universities. As part of this program, students will have dedicated career counselors provide advice and support to enable them to achieve excellence in their programs; English language training to increase their proficiency; and opportunities to broaden and apply their learning through internships, business/entrepreneurship experiences, and U.S. study programs. Implementing Partner: AMIDEAST; Life of Project: April 1, 2015-October 31, 2022; Total Estimated Cost: $27 million; Bilateral Agreement: The U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative.

HEI Local Scholarships for Private Universities: This project provides 195 scholarships to Egyptian public school graduates to pursue programs in Egyptian private universities. These scholarships will also provide academic skill building, counseling, and support to enable them to achieve excellence in their programs; English language training to increase their proficiency; and opportunities to broaden and apply their learning through internships, business/entrepreneurship experiences, and U.S. study programs. Implementing Partner: Institute of International Education; Life of Project: April 23, 2015-November 22, 2022; Total Estimated Cost: $20 million; Bilateral Agreement: The U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative.

Fulbright Scholarships: Under the auspices of HEI, Fulbright scholarships will be granted to 335 Egyptians for Master’s degree programs in the U.S. in fields of study critical to the economic development of Egypt. These scholarships will be targeted toward high achieving, economically disadvantaged students from across Egypt, and will help them acquire leadership and employment skills, English language training, and a first-hand understanding of American society. Scholars will return to Egypt to join the public and private sectors, equipped to take on leadership roles and engage in civic participation in their communities. Implementing Partner: State Department Bureau for Economic and Cultural Affairs; Life of Project: 2014-2018; Total Estimated Cost: $10 million; Bilateral Agreement: The U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative.

Leadership Opportunities Transforming University Students (LOTUS): The LOTUS Scholarship Program offers comprehensive scholarship packages to students with outstanding academic and extra-curricular credentials and high financial need to obtain undergraduate degrees from premier Egyptian private universities in fields of studies important to Egypt's development such as nursing, engineering, computer science, and mass communication. Since 2010, 250 scholarships have been competitively awarded to male and female applicants from Egypt's 27 governorates with a focus on geographic and gender diversity, as well as diversity of experiences and desired fields of study.   [Note: Since 2014, LOTUS scholars have been a part of the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative.]  Implementing Partner: Institute of International Education; Life of Project: May 4, 2010-September 30, 2020; Total Estimated Cost: $23.7 million; Bilateral Agreement: Basic Education.

U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund: The U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund promotes collaboration between U.S. and Egyptian scientists to address development challenges and promote economic growth, particularly in applied research and technology commercialization. This program works in areas such as public health, food security, energy, and water security. Results of the Joint Fund will include high-impact scientific research, training for the next generation of youth and female scientists, and expanded collaboration between U.S. and Egyptian public and private sector institutions. Implementing Partner: U.S. National Academy of Sciences; Life of Project: November 17, 2014-November 1, 2019; Total Estimated Cost: $12 million; Bilateral Agreement: U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Cooperation.

Career Development Centers: USAID’s establishment of these centers helps build the capacity of public universities to provide career guidance and employability skills – an important service that is quite uncommon in Egyptian universities. Through specialized training, career mentoring, and linking students to networking and employment opportunities, the centers equip students with the skills for the world of work and create sustainable links between university students and the private sector job market. Implementing Partners: American University in Cairo and World Learning; Life of Project: June 1, 2012-July 31, 2017; Total Estimated Cost: $4.4 million; Bilateral Agreement: Basic Education.

Cairo Initiative Scholarship Program: Announced by President Obama in his 2009 Cairo speech, this program provides Egyptian public servants scholarships for Masters, PhDs, and post-doctoral studies to the U.S. to build the capacity of key government institutions. This initiative also focuses on building the capacity of the scholarship unit of the Ministry of Higher Education with U.S. college placement skills, as well as leadership and cross cultural practices to better aid in the scholar experience. Scholarship recipients use their newly acquired knowledge to fill crucial skill-gaps in their home ministry or institution. Implementing Partner: Ministry of Higher Education; Life of Project: September 8, 2011-March 30, 2017; Total Estimated Cost: $22 million; Bilateral Agreement: Basic Education.

Last updated: November 07, 2017

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