Spain - 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: 2019-10-13


According to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors® 2018, Spain is ranked 25th among countries sending students to the United States for higher education and training services. During the 2017/2018 academic year, 7,489 Spanish students were enrolled. This was a 4.5 percent increase over the previous academic year. By academic level, 2,983 of the Spanish students going to United States were undergraduates (6.2 percent increase), 2,055 graduates (0.1 percent decrease), 1,441 non-degree (2.9 percent decrease) and 1,010 Optional Practical Training – OPT (23.9 percent increase).
The fact that Spain’s King studied in the United States and has been supportive of educational exchanges with the United States has brought positive visibility to the U.S. education market.

Current Demand

Spanish students are actively seeking study abroad opportunities and many take full advantage of the European Union’s Erasmus+ program for exchanges within Europe
In Erasmus + 2017 program (the last data available), 75,922 participants in 2,408 Spanish projects benefited from mobility in higher education, vocational education and training, school education, adult learning and youth for a total grant amount of USD 171 million. Outgoing Spanish students and trainees totaled 40,079 and the total amount of incoming students from participating countries in Europe to Spain was 48,595.  The top three institutions that send students abroad are: the University of Granada, the University of Valencia and the  Complutense University in Madrid. The top three destinations for students from Spain were Italy, the United Kingdom, and France.
Spanish students also highly value educational opportunities in English speaking countries outside the EU including the United States, Australia and Canada.
These opportunities are very popular with Spanish families seeking opportunities for their children to immerse themselves in an English-speaking academic environment. There has also been increased demand for summer camps and ESL programs in the United States.

Market Entry

Spain is a stable and mature market for inbound students. An onsite partner network and/or accredited representatives are recommended to drive and support student acquisition. Partnership agreements with Spanish universities might also be effective. E-learning, blended programs and intensive ESL programs offer additional opportunities, as well as optional practical training programs. Spanish students are very sensitive to costs when selecting education options and value dual accreditation courses.
Spain’s annual budget for Education in 2017 was USD 55.80 Billion (4.2 percent of GDP), with USD 109.13 million assigned to education abroad.  However, the bulk of the funding for international activities is assigned to promoting Spanish language programs and covering the cost of Spanish teachers abroad.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The most popular academic fields of study for Spanish students in higher education in the United States are:

  • Business/ Management (22.5 percent)
  • Engineering (including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields) (18.5 percent)
  • Humanities (8.5 percent)
  • Social Sciences (7.1 percent)
  • Physical/Life Sciences (6.5 percent)
  • Fine/Applied Arts (5.8 percent)


Trade Events
SIMO EDUCATION (Madrid) November 05-07, 2019
EDUCATION WEEK (Madrid), To be determined
Saló de l’Ensenyament (Barcelona), March 18-22, 2020

Web Resources

EducationUSA Spain
Spanish Association of Promoters of Courses Abroad (ASEPROCE) 
OECD Education Policy Outlook Highlights: Spain
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain
European Commission Education and Training Monitor 2018 Spain

U.S. Commercial Service Spain:
Education Services Specialist: Jesus Garcia
Tel: + 34 91 308 1578