Dominican Republic - Country Commercial Guide
Education and Training

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-03-25

Capital:  Santo Domingo

Population:  10.6 million (July 2021 est.)

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):  $184.5 billion (2020 est., in 2017 dollars)

Currency: Dominican pesos (DOP)

Language:  Spanish

 

UNESCO Student Mobility Number:   

The Dominican Republic has 4,203 students studying abroad according to UNESCO.

 

CIA World Factbook:

45% of the population in Dominican Republic is under 25 years old.

 

OVERVIEW

The United States is a leading destination for students from the Dominican Republic.  During the 2020/21 academic year, the number of students from the Dominican Republic totaled 1,244, a 9.8% decrease from the previous academic year, which saw 1,379 students.  

According to UNESCO data, the United States was the second largest market for Dominican students after Spain.  In 2021, UNESCO reported that the top six markets for Dominican Students were:  

  1. Spain
  2. United States
  3. France
  4. Canada
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Germany

 

SUB-SECTORS

Undergraduate Education: 778 students from the Dominican Republic were enrolled in undergraduate programs in the United States during the 2020/21 academic year, this is a 9.3% decrease from the previous academic year.

Graduate Education: 273 students from the Dominican Republic were enrolled in graduate programs in the United States during the 2020/21 academic year, a 2.5% decrease from the previous academic year.

Non-Degree: 43 students from the Dominican Republic were enrolled in non-degree programs in the United States during the 2020/21 academic year, a 42.7% decrease from the previous academic year.

OPT: 150 students from the Dominican Republic were enrolled in OPT programs in the United States during the 2020/21 academic year, a 9.6% decrease from the previous academic year.

 

OPPORTUNITIES

Exchange programs and partnerships with higher education institutions in the Dominican Republic is a common method for market entry.  

Graduate Programs: The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Technology (MESCyT) continues to support study abroad for graduate education levels (Master’s and Doctorate).  Priority fields for MESCyT are those aligned with priorities identified by the Dominican government for the sustainable development of the country.  They are: Innovation, Tourism, Technology, Basic Sciences, Education, and Engineering.  MESCyT works with U.S. universities to establish agreements, particularly with universities that offer in-state tuition for students from the Dominican Republic. For more information, see: https://mescyt.gob.do/becas-internacionales. In 2021, the MESCyT established agreements with 62 higher education institutions (worldwide) to offer 1,700 scholarships for an approximate amount of US$30 million.

Travel and Hospitality Programs: Because of the importance of the tourism industry in the Caribbean, travel and hospitality programs are popular with students from this region.

Grants and Scholarship Programs

There are some academic scholarship opportunities for Dominican students who have earned outstanding grades and scores on their ACT and/or SAT exams.  Contact individual admission offices to learn more about their scholarship opportunities for foreign students.

INICIA Educación: Provides scholarships to Dominican educators, administrators, and professionals for graduate degrees in education-related fields: https://iniciaeducacion.org.

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF): CHTAEF awards scholarships to students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the industry and the potential for future success.  The Foundation offers scholarships for Professional Development Courses and Full-Time Academic Courses in all areas of Hospitality and Tourism Management for Associate and Bachelor programs.  CHTAEF scholarships average from $500 - $5,000 (USD) per academic year. All scholarships are for tuition costs only.   Their website has an update indicating that due to the uncertain times the region and industry are currently experiencing, CHTAEF has temporarily suspended the 2020 scholarship application process and that they will be updating the site with more information as it develops: http://www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/about-the-foundation/apply-for-scholarship/.

Fulbright: The Fulbright Program offers grants to qualified Dominican graduate students to study at the graduate level in the United States.  Dominican scholars are eligible for Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence grants: https://eca.state.gov/fulbright/country/dominican-republic.     

 

CHALLENGES

While the United States continues to be a popular destination for students from the Dominican Republic, there are challenges to this market:

  • Rising tuition costs at U.S. universities discourage students from choosing U.S. higher education institutions.
  • Increased competition from other English-speaking countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom.
  • The perception that it is too difficult to obtain a U.S. student visa deters students from considering U.S. higher education institutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                      

DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES

Zoom and Google Classroom (Meets & Handsout) are the most used platforms by students in the Dominican Republic. Canvas is also used and most universities and private schools have customized platforms.

The most popular social media sites for students in the DR are Instagram and TikTok.  The most popular platforms for streaming videos in the DR are YouTube and Instagram. 

Students research information on any given topic using Google, Google Scholar and Wikipedia mostly.  They search for job opportunities on Aldaba (Aldaba.com), Google, and LinkedIn. 

The most common way to reach out to students is advertising on social media (Instagram and Facebook), followed by in-bound marketing.  Additionally, every year the Ministry of Higher Education of the Dominican Republic publishes in the local newspapers (March/April) the list of scholarship opportunities for students.

 

EVENTS

EducationUSA routinely organizes public orientation sessions to inform prospective students on studies in the United States. 

 

RESOURCES

                                                                                                              

U.S. COMMERCIAL SERVICE CONTACT

Maria Elena Portorreal, Regional Senior Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Phone: +809-567-7775, ext. 7220

Email: Maria.Portorreal@trade.gov