In United States of America, the concept of community colleges is quite popular. This is where students complete their higher education before moving on to other colleges or universities for further academics. In cities like California, New York, Chicago they are referred to as City colleges as they are funded by the local municipality. The American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) annual convention brings together people from various parts of the world, introducing them to this concept and building relationships to help promote education across the globe.
This year, the event saw quite a few participants, some of who were the Indian education ministers. The main objective of this convention was to learn and obtain insight on the various community colleges across the USA. These colleges are believed to be the hub for skilled workforce and they aspire to open 100 colleges by 2017. The officials involved in this conference worked towards understanding the nuances of attracting students towards these community colleges and increase the number of transfers towards higher education system. In the USA, these community colleges are where students get affordable education. With the way things are in India, especially the economic situation, such a concept would work wonders for the country.
Over the past few years, the US has been working with India on giving the education system a boost, which is where the Fulbright Nehru Partnership comes in. The program provides grants to students and faculty, the number that has more than tripled in size since 2009 when Manmohan Singh and Obama increased the funding. The US state department has not made any changes in the visa processing, but are now more focused towards verifying the institutions. This will help validate the sponsorships being offered and help benefit the students who go abroad to study and gain knowledge.
There is also the Fulbright program that has made the dreams of almost 3,00,000 candidates who have been provided with the opportunity to either study or conduct research. The Fulbright foreign student program helps graduates to study or do research in the United Stated for a year or more. Annually close to 1,700 students are given scholarships and around 1,350 students renew their scholarship.
The scholarship is also available for students who want to pursue non-degree postgraduate studies. The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant and the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award are two popular components of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. The former is for young teachers of English who want to take their teaching skills to the next level and the latter is for doctoral study in science, technology or engineering. The applications are processed by Fulbright foundations and U.S embassies. The scholarship helps students to choose any university or academic institution in the USA.
Fulbright gives grants to various disciplines apart from science and teaching. Some of them are performing arts, visual arts, mathematics and interdisciplinary courses. Fulbright program does not support medical students or clinical medical research but supports studies involving public health and global health.
The Fulbright program sponsors tuition fees, textbooks, airfare, health insurance and stipend for the living expenses during the course period. The citizenship requirements specified in the bi-national agreement should be met in order to apply for the scholarship. Applicant cannot be a citizen of a partner company of the USA. Completion of under graduation degree or a degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree is a must. Proficiency in English is mandatory. The deadline for the application for the scholarship program varies between February and December. Visit the Fulbright website for further information.