Mexico - 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: 2021-01-15

From education technology for school-age children to professional training for adults, U.S.-supplied education and training products and services represent a best prospect industry sector in Mexico. Recruiting Mexican students to study in the United States for academic programs and professional training also represents significant opportunities for U.S. educational institutions.

Overview

Mexico is the 10th-largest country of origin for students studying in the United States. In the 2019–2020 academic year, 14,348 Mexican students were enrolled in U.S. schools, primarily in undergraduate programs. Mexican students often choose to study in the United States due to the prestige of the American higher education system, as well as the strong ties and proximity between the countries.

Mexican Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities 201–2020 Academic Year

Academic Level

Number of Students from Mexico

Undergraduate

7,993

Graduate

3,817

Other / Non-Degree

813

Optional Practical Training

1,725

Total

14,348

Source: IIE Open Doors 2020

Mexican private education institutions have prioritized international education, fostering student mobility and academic exchanges with institutions abroad, to become more competitive in the international market. The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically impacting student mobility, forcing higher education institutions to implement virtual recruitment strategies and increase online collaboration.

Mexican higher education institutions actively participate in regional and bilateral education programs to increase collaboration with international institutions. Launched in 2014, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund is the Western Hemisphere’s signature education initiative that stimulates and supports institutional partnerships and student exchange and training opportunities through collaboration among regional governments, the private sector, foundations, NGOs and higher education institutions to strengthen regional education collaboration as well as increase student mobility and workforce development. As of June 2021, the Innovation Fund has awarded 250 grants to more than 500 higher education institutions working in teams in 25 countries and 49 U.S. states. In seven years, Mexico has become the leading country in this hemispheric-wide education initiative to form partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities and implement new models of student training and exchange and training programs in both countries. To date, 20 Mexican states and 27 U.S. states benefit from 100K Innovation Fund partnerships and programs.

Another key regional program, the Hemispheric University Consortium (HUC), was created in 2018 to facilitate collaborations in education and research to generate solutions to challenges in public health, climate change, and sustainability issues. The University of Miami coordinates this unique consortium, comprised of 14 universities, developing solutions-based research and educational programs. Bilateral programs also facilitate educational partnerships among U.S. and Mexican institutions. As part of the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education (FOBESII) initiatives for institutional collaboration, the U.S.-Mexico Program for the Internationalization of the Curricula, executed by the Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI), supports faculty course development to provide Mexican and U.S. students with international virtual exchange experiences. Launched in September 2020, registration for faculty to participate is open until fall 2022 at AMPEI’s website (www.ampei.org.mx).

Opportunities for community colleges and boarding schools are increasing, particularly among Mexican students looking for educational opportunities at a younger age or those interested in two-year programs. Mexico’s higher education system offers opportunities for U.S. community colleges to develop collaborative programs with technical universities in different regions in Mexico. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual collaboration between Mexican and international high schools has increased to provide students with virtual international experiences.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the education sector, mainly at the K-12 grade levels, as students continue their academic activities through digital channels. In 2020, the Mexican Secretariat of Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública or SEP) launched the ‘Learn at Home’ (Aprende en Casa) program, a virtual project that allows students from public and private K-12 institutions to follow academic lessons either online or through a TV channel. Over 500,000 teachers and parents received online training providing tools to support online learning for students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Private education institutions have also adapted their teaching methodologies to virtual platforms, as the 2021 academic year in Mexico has been delivered online. Higher education institutions in Mexico have evolved to incorporate innovative digital classrooms, laboratories (robotics, language), and digital libraries.

Institutions offering virtual courses should be aware that on June 1, 2020, the Mexican government incorporated a new chapter into its value added tax (VAT) law subjecting digital services, which include distance learning, to VAT obligations (16 percent tax) when the receiver of the service is located in Mexico. Please contact the U.S. Commercial Service Mexico for further updates.

Leading Sub-Sectors

There are three key sub-sectors in the education sector:

  • Academic-related training in the United States is the largest sub-sector and can be divided into undergraduate, graduate, non-degree programs (including language proficiency), and practical training. We see strong opportunities in English as a second language (ESL) programs for Mexican students (both short-term and longer courses of study) to address the nation’s shortage of English-language teachers, as well as to fill the demand of bilingual professionals.
  • Professional training services in Mexico represent significant opportunities for U.S. educational providers, which can include partnerships with educational institutions or local management companies. Customized training in information technologies, quality control, management, and language programs are in high demand. In addition to traditional training methods, training companies must be flexible and sensitive to the specific characteristics of the Mexican market and typically need to work with a partner in country.
  • The education technologies sector offers strong opportunities for U.S. solutions providers, particularly in the areas of software, online learning, classroom or field education tools, and distance learning services. There is a growing market for technology applied to K-12 education, including applications, software, and digital content, as well as software for school administrative processes.

To pursue opportunities in the education and training sector, we recommend building relationships with educational organizations, education agencies, and Mexican grant institutions. We see opportunities in smaller geographic regions outside of the major cities where students are increasingly seeking quality education programs abroad. Social media channels are also an effective recruitment tool to promote academic programs to Mexican students.

Resources

  • Education USA
  • Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (SEP)
  • National Association of Universities and Higher Learning Institutions
  • U.S. Embassy education and English programs
  • COMEXUS–Fulbright-García Robles Scholarships
  • Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration
  • 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund
  • Peace Corps in Mexico
  • Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI)


For more information on the education and training sector in Mexico, please contact:

Martha Sanchez

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5225

Martha.Sanchez@trade.gov