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: 2022-09-23

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 9th-largest country of origin for students studying in the United States. In the 2020–2021 academic year, 12,986 Mexican students were enrolled in U.S. schools, primarily in undergraduate programs due to the prestige of the American higher education system, as well as the strong ties and proximity between the countries. It is important to mention that for short-term programs summer, or semester abroad programs, students are choosing to go to Canada or European schools for two reasons: it is less expensive and to experience a different cultural immersion.

Table: Mexican Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities 2020–2021 Academic Year

Academic Level

Number of Students from Mexico

Undergraduate

 7,303

Graduate

 3,788

Other / Non-Degree

 358

Optional Practical Training

 1,537

Total

 12,986

Source: IIE Open Doors 2021

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 impactied student mobility, forcing higher education institutions to implement virtual recruitment strategies and increase online and hybrid collaboration among students and faculty.

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, student exchanges, 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 May 2022, the Innovation Fund has awarded 278 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 collaboration and training programs in both countries. To date, 20 Mexican states and 27 U.S. states benefit from 100K Innovation Fund partnerships and programs. Through the Innovation Network you can engage with institutional partners and apply for innovation grants.

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 embassy sponsored Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative, executed by the Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI), the embassy supports faculty course development to provide Mexican and U.S. students with international virtual exchange experiences. Launched in September 2021, registration for faculty to participate is open until fall 2023 at AMPEI’s website.

Opportunities are resurfacing for community colleges and boarding schools since the pandemic, 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. The technical, polytechnical and technological institutions in Mexico are interested in providing tools to gain skills to fulfill regional industry needs .  For boarding education, Mexican families are seeking international academic experiences to develop soft skills among young students such as leadership, teamwork, and intercultural communication. In 2020 the pandemic challenged all industries including education; to support K-12 students learning, the Mexican Secretariat of Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública or SEP) launched the ‘Learn at Home’ (Aprende en Casa) program, a virtual project that allowed 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 means to support online learning for students. This was the start of a new trend in education, especially in K-12 public education when the industry had to take the best elements of online education and include them in their regular programs, creating alternative hybrid methods that could be implemented to provide better tools for students. Opportunities for teacher training, supply of software and hardware to schools, may be options to explore for U.S. institutions and education related companies.. Private education institutions have also adapted their teaching methodologies to virtual platforms and the use of digital content and virtual international collaboration have been a trend for the last couple of years. Higher education institutions in Mexico have evolved to incorporate innovative digital classrooms, laboratories (robotics, language), digital libraries, and hybrid programs.

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 (100 percent automated), to VAT obligations (16 percent tax) when the receiver of the service is in Mexico. The system is based on a new VAT sourcing rule. Providers of specific digital services are deemed to offer their services in Mexico and are subject to the charge, collection, and payment of VAT when:

  • The recipient has disclosed a Mexican domicile or telephone number
  • The payment is made using a Mexican intermediary
  • The recipient uses an IP address assigned to Mexico

The reform intends to establish “simplified” destination-based compliance obligations for foreign digital platforms, echoing guidelines established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Platforms will have to comply with the following rules:

  • Register with the national taxpayers’ registry within 30 days of providing digital platform services in Mexico
  • Charge and collect VAT
  • Provide the tax administration with quarterly information on the monthly number of services and transactions with Mexican users
  • Calculate and pay 16 percent VAT per month on fees from services rendered
  • Issue and send electronic receipts with the VAT stated expressly and separately if requested by the user

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 English language proficiency), and practical training. Among the fields students are more interested in are: STEM programs, business, social sciences as well as fine and applied arts.  We see strong opportunities in English as a second language (ESL) programs for Mexican students (both short-term and longer courses of study), 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 English 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 private sector grant institutions. Developing relationships at the state, rather than the federal level, and in smaller geographic regions outside of the major cities, where students are increasingly seeking quality education programs abroad, is also recommended. 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)

U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Global Education Team:  https://www.trade.gov/education-industry

 

Contacts

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