Aside from colleges and universities, there are a variety of other entities involved in U.S.-Mexico higher education collaboration whose work supports and compliments institutional efforts. This page includes a list of those actors, which are organized in the following categories: government agencies and entities; non-profit and non-governmental organizations; higher education associations; networks and consortia; accrediting bodies; and specialized service providers.

Government Agencies and Entities

At the national level, government agencies in the U.S. and Mexico have maintained support for bilateral higher engagement through policies, programs, and funding mechanisms. The overall goals for such initiatives are linked to the broader mission and purpose of each individual agency, and typically center around diplomacy, development, and capacity-building.

Education, diplomacy, and development agencies

Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research (FOBESII)
In 2013, FOBESII was established by then presidents of the U.S. and Mexico in order to “expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation.”

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
USAID works to end global poverty and enable democratic processes worldwide. Priority issues for USAID in Mexico include crime and violence prevention, law, human rights, and climate change.

United States Department of State
In support of its public diplomacy mission, the U.S. Department of State administers a number of higher education-focused programs through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Chief among these are Fulbright student and scholar programs, and the EducationUSA network of international student advising centers. Between 2011 and 2016, 80 U.S. scholars received Fulbright grants for travel to Mexico, while 85 Mexican scholars were funded to visit the U.S. Eighty-nine grants were made to U.S. students for research, study, or travel in Mexico in 2015; a majority of these placed students in English teaching assistantship positions.  The EducationUSA network includes 15 advising centers in Mexico, which provide Mexican students and their families with information about short- and long-term study opportunities in the U.S., and assist U.S. institutions with student recruiting and institutional partnership development in Mexico.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the Embassy of Mexico in the U.S.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the Embassy of Mexico in the U.S. also support bilateral higher education initiatives as part of their public diplomacy efforts.  At each Embassy, a staff member is typically responsible for building relationships with the host country’s higher education community, and managing education-related activities.  Recent initiatives of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico have included the aforementioned inventory of memoranda of understanding between U.S. and Mexican higher education institutions carried out in collaboration with CONAHEC.

Secretariat of Public Education (SEP)
The main governmental body overseeing education in Mexico, the SEP offers a variety of scholarships to support study abroad by Mexican students, including to the U.S. Examples include grants for bachelor’s and technical degree students to spend at least three months abroad, and a partnership with UNAM and the UNAM foundation to fund study abroad by UNAM undergraduates.

Research funding agencies

National Science Foundation (NSF)
With an annual budget of over $7 billion, the National Science Foundation funds approximately 24% of all federally supported basic research conducted at U.S. colleges and universities. An array of discipline-based grant programs supports projects involving partnerships between U.S. and  Mexico, in The Americas Program, which supports research and educational partnerships with researchers and institutions in Mexico, Canada and other partners in the Western Hemisphere.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports university researchers through a variety of grant programs.  NIH’s Fogarty International Center focuses on global health, and has funded an array of projects involving Latin American countries, including Mexico.  In 2014, for example, a faculty member at University of California San Diego was awarded a fellowship to study the health status and social incorporation of Mexicans deported from the United States.

The National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología)
CONACYT was created by the Mexican Congress in 1970 as an independent, publicly funded organization to support research in science and technology. With a mandate similar to that of the National Science Foundation, CONACYT funds research conducted at higher education institutions, as well as other organizations, through grants, programs and other mechanisms. CONACYT provides scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships for Mexican students in STEM fields to study and conduct research at institutions abroad, including in the U.S. The NSF is a key scientific research partner for CONACYT. Additionally, CONACYT maintains partnerships with individual U.S. institutions and university systems in the University of California.

Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations

A variety of non-profit and non-governmental organizations support U.S.-Mexico higher education engagement; among other activities, these organizations manage the implementation of government programs, provide training (both grant-funded and fee-for-service), administer scholarships, facilitate connections between institutions, and participate in policy conversations.

Global focus

Institute of International Education (IIE)
The IIE is among the world’s largest international education and training organizations. IIE’s Mexico focus includes its Mexico Partnership Program, through which the IIE offers higher education institutions from around the world opportunities to explore potential collaborations with Mexican institutions.

World Education Services (WES)
The WES is a non-profit organization focused on evaluating – and advocating for the recognition of – international education qualifications. WES provides research on international education issues and trends, and administers the Global Talent Bridge program aimed at helping skilled immigrants – including those from Mexico – gain access to academic and professional opportunities in the U.S.

Latin America focus

Partners of the Americas
The Partners of the Americas engages volunteers, international development professionals, governments, businesses, and higher education institutions in a variety of programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. As noted previously, Partners is one of the organizations responsible for implementation of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative; since 2014, the organization has awarded 20 of the project’s “Innovation Grants” to institutions in Mexico.

Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities (LASPAU)
LASPAU, an affiliate of Harvard University, administers scholarships programs sponsored by the U.S. and foreign governments, foundations, and other entities to fund study by U.S. students in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico.

Mexico focus

The California-Mexico Studies Center, Inc.
Founded in 2010 by California State University-Long Beach Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos, the California-Mexico Studies Center (CMSC) is a non-profit organization aimed at developing policies and programs that promote exchanges between students, faculty and professionals from the U.S., Mexico and other participating countries in the western hemisphere.

U.S.-Mexico Foundation (USMF)
The USMF is a binational organization “dedicated to strengthening education in Mexico and developing understanding and cooperation between the two countries.” Founded in 2009 with seed funding from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, and the Fundación del Empresariado en México (Fundemex), the organization administers grants for education-related projects, and operates student mobility programs. Currently, USMF is partnering with UCLA, Tec de Monterrey, Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME), and the governments of a number of Mexican states to administer the Dreamers Without Borders program, which brings groups of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients living in the U.S. to Mexico for short-term study and networking visits.

Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT)
MATT is a binational nonprofit organization “focused on building cultural and economic links between the U.S. and Mexico,” which “advocates for bridging understanding, building relationships and sparking dialogue.”

USMexFusion, A.C.
With offices in Houston and Puebla, the binational nonprofit organization supports institutions with ambitions to internationalize their campuses. The nonprofit uses open-access resources and networking platforms to help institutions build binational connections.

The Mexico Institute (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars)
Based in Washington, D.C., the Institute “seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing a bilateral relationship.”

Higher Education Associations

Various higher education associations in the U.S. and Mexico play a role in facilitating connections and collaboration between the two countries.  These include national associations with a broad mandate to represent their country’s higher education community on key issues, as well as organizations specifically focused on international and global education, and discipline-based scholarly associations.

National higher education associations

American Council on Education (ACE)
ACE represents approximately 1,800 U.S. colleges and universities; its membership is composed of presidents of all types and sizes of institutions.   In terms of Mexico-focused activity, in addition to the current project and other research, ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement administers a professional development program for senior international officers and other internationally-focused staff from institutions in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain. Banco Santander/Universia sponsors the seminar, and funds a delegation of Mexican university rectors to attend ACE’s Annual Meeting each year.  ACE also participates in FOBESII meetings, and since 1998, 12 administrators from Mexican universities have participated in the ACE Fellows program.

Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES)
ANUIES serves more than 150 member institutions throughout Mexico.  In terms of U.S. engagement, ANUIES has previously collaborated with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Higher Education for Development program; currently, ANIUES is linked to U.S. higher education institutions primarily through affiliations with the Consortium for North American Higher Education (CONAHEC) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

International education associations

NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Based in Washington, DC, NAFSA is a professional organization for college and university administrators and others in the international education field. NAFSA provides an array of professional development resources and opportunities including conferences and publications; one example is a 2014 online guide to the Mexican higher education system.

Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI)
AMPEI is a nonprofit organization focused on linking international educators with Mexican higher education institutions. AMPEI collaborates with U.S.-based international education groups, such as CONAHEC, to offer professional development activities for U.S. and Mexican international educators, and coordinates with foreign embassies in Mexico to support international education activity in Mexico.

Discipline associations

Latin American Studies Association’s (LASA) Mexico section
The LASA Mexico section “facilitates communication and interaction among members of LASA (academic researchers, students, non-academics) who study any aspect of Mexico, including the Mexican diaspora and Mexico’s relations within and beyond the Americas.”  Activities include organizing panels and presentations at LASA meetings, and awarding prizes for outstanding books and articles with a Mexico focus.

Association for Borderland Studies (ABS)
Founded in 1976, the organization’s original focus was the U.S.-Mexico border region, however its reach has grown to include borderland regions worldwide.  ABS hosts an annual conference and regional events, publishes a journal and newsletter, and administers scholarly awards.  Current officers for the organization include representatives from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Arizona State University and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez.

Networks and Consortia

International higher education networks and consortia promote collaboration, cooperation, and resource sharing among member institutions; activities include academic exchanges and mobility programs, joint teaching and research endeavors, and conferences and other networking events.  A number of geographic and discipline-based consortia facilitate engagement between colleges and universities in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as with member institutions in other countries.

Santander Universities and Universia networks
Banco Santander – the sponsor of this project – has collaborated with the higher education sector for 20 years, and maintains agreements with more than 2,000 universities and research institutes worldwide. Santander Universities and Universia generate initiatives related to the promotion of a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, university digitalization, internationalization and employability, with the clear objective of helping people and businesses prosper.

In terms of internationalization, Santander supports international mobility scholarships, exchange programs, and collaborative projects between institutions from various countries, integrating an active international network of universities. Universia México is part of FOBESII, and has actively promoted cooperation between universities from Mexico and the United States. As noted previously, Santander Universities and Universia Mexico have also sponsored delegations of Mexican university rectors to attend ACE’s Annual Meeting.

CONAHEC: Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration
CONAHEC is a not-for-profit membership-based network of approximately 180 higher education institutions in Canada, the United States and Mexico, as well as a select group of institutions from other parts of the world. The consortium “advises and connects institutions interested in establishing or strengthening academic collaborative programs within the North American region and beyond.”

The North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE)
NACLE was created in 1998 with grant support from the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.  With 12-member law schools in these three countries, NACLE “seeks to promote and share an understanding of the legal systems within North American countries, as well as enhance the capabilities of each member to provide high quality legal education and research appropriate to the demands of the professional environment in North America.”  Four institutions in Mexico and five in the U.S. are part of the consortium, which operates student exchange and scholarship programs, and organizes workshops for faculty and students from member institutions.

International Partnership of Business Schools (IPBS)
IPBS is a consortium of 11 business schools in Europe, North America, and Latin America, is “dedicated to the development of a lifelong cross-cultural international community of business and management students, alumni, professors, researchers and staff.”  Students at member institutions have access to collaborative degrees, internships, and language programs offered by participating schools. UDLAP is a member of IPBS, along with four U.S. institutions:  Northeastern University, North Carolina State University, Rollins College, and the University of San Diego.

The Council of Independent Colleges: U.S.-Mexico Higher Education Initiative

“CIC hosted a delegation of Mexican private university rectors at the 2015 Presidents Institute in San Diego, California. The conversations that took place during this first meeting of CIC presidents and Mexican university rectors showed hope of developing strong and meaningful relationships between private colleges and universities in the U.S. and Mexico. With the support of CIC’s two sister organizations in Mexico—Mexican Federation of Private Higher Education Institutions (FIMPES)​ and Mexican Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES)—and Sandanter Universidades and Universia delegations of Mexican rectors also participated in the 2016 and 2017 Presidents Institutes. The promise of long-term connections spurred CIC and FIMPES to begin thinking of a strategy for increasing faculty and student exchanges between the U.S. and Mexico as well as deepening the relationships that had been cultivated at the CIC Presidents Institutes in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The “U.S.-Mexico Higher Education Summit” organized by CIC and FIMPES was held March 29-31, 2017, in Guadalajara, Mexico.”



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