Aug 18, 2015 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Venezuela’s international education sector has seen significant growth over the past few years, along with increases in student mobility thanks to improved access. However, while more young students than ever are seeking out study abroad opportunities, recent rigorous currency exchange rules have dramatically hampered their ability to do so. Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon.




The latest generations of Venezuelan students are increasingly mobile-minded -- particularly to the U.S., which has seen seen 14 percent jumps in two consecutive years, according to the IIE’s Open Doors report. However, the country’s embattled economy and rampant political tension are now spilling over into the educational sector in the form strict currency exchange controls.

While the Centro Nacional de Comercio Exterior (CENCOEX, formerly the Commission for the Administration of Currency Exchange) offer some hope -- albeit through a challenging process -- thanks to a program which grants some aspiring study abroad students access to its reserves of foreign funds, these benefits are limited to those who qualify. 

It follows that students who are not eligible for CENCOEX support are more affected by poor exchange rates than those who are. The troubling conclusion? Despite growing demand for international studies, these stricter controls have resulted in less-than-ideal roadblocks for Venezuelan students, as well as setback for student mobility in general.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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