Market Intelligence
Higher Education Greece

Greece Education and Expanded Cooperation with U.S. academia

Greece, per its Constitution, offers free education as a right to all citizens. Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 4 and 15 and, as of September 2021, pre-school education starting at the age of 4 is now mandatory for all children.  The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs administers the budget, develops the curriculum, and oversees all schools in the Greek public system, as well as managing examinations including the Panhellenic exams that determine which public university students can attend based on performance.  Most students in Greece attend public schools of all levels, for which there are no tuition fees, while less than 10% of the student population enroll in private schools.  

In 2021-2022, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) Open Doors survey, 2,407 Greek students studied at U.S. institutions, a 6.7% increase compared to the previous year which saw dramatic low figures due to the pandemic. Of the total Greek students attending U.S. educational institutions, 1,121 attended graduate programs, 761 students attended undergraduate programs, and the remaining 525 participated in Non-Degree programs. The majority of Greek students pursued the fields of science, economics and law in the U.S. 

According to the Institute of International Education (IHR), Greece ranked 9th as a destination for U.S. students in the 2021-2022 academic year, with 418 U.S. students attending Greek institutions. Italy attracted 2,193 U.S. students, followed by 2,089 in Spain, 1,612 in Britain, and 1025 in France. This figure is down considerably from years past; Greece attracted 6000 American students in 2018-2019 and over 5000 students in 2017-2018.

U.S.-Greece Educational Partnerships
In December 2019 the Greek Ministry of Education and the U.S. Institute of International Education inaugurated an academic cooperation program between Greece and the United States to promote bilateral cooperation programs among higher education institutions. In November 2022 Greece welcomed representatives from 30 American universities including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornel, Brown. Stockton, and Johns Hopkins as part of the Pharos Summit 2022, organized by the Ministry of Education and supported by the U.S. Embassy to Greece. The event brought together representatives from U.S. and Greek higher educational institutions to explore areas of collaboration, establish partnerships and increase both academic and research student mobility between the two countries.  The program laid the foundation for over a hundred agreements and will result in increased academic exchanges and partnerships between these institutions. The U.S. Embassy to Greece supported the visit, which showcased the United States’ strategic engagement in international education, including through the Fulbright and Gilman Programs, to support increased student mobility.

As a result of the Pharos Summit 2022, Columbia University will launch an International Education Center in Athens in September 2023, while the postgraduate student exchange programs between the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA) and Yale University will most likely launch within the current academic year. A cornerstone of the partnership with Yale University is that Greek participants will be exempt from paying tuition fees. As part of this new partnership, EKPA postgraduate and doctoral students will be able to take one-semester or one-year courses at Yale’s science, medical and environmental schools, which will count toward their degree. 

The U.S. Commercial Service in Greece expects many partnerships and continued collaboration to come from this program. 

United States and Greece have a long history of cross-cultural educational exchange and cooperation.  English is the first foreign language in the Greek Education system and is taught in private kindergartens and primary schools starting in first grade. Greeks are receptive to education opportunities abroad given access to universities in the European Union.  Until Brexit, the U.K. had been the preferred destination for Greek higher education students, attracting over 11,000 Greek students a year. As a non-E.U. destination, the U.S. is prominent. Greeks have a strong affinity to the United States and if finances allow, families are happy to send their children to universities in the United States.  As the U.S. will never be the most economical destination, best prospects fall in the following niche areas:
•    Short-term intensive English language training programs 
•    E-learning programs from U.S. universities that could include both degrees and certificate programs
•    Traditional undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on areas with high marketability and future job prospects. 
•    Programs that have work-study elements or follow-on job possibilities.  

For more information you may get in touch with Education Specialist at the Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy Athens.