Clinton, William J., Former U.S. President

Name: Clinton, William J.
Title: Former U.S. President
Company/Organization/University: United States


SUBJECT: International Education Policy

To continue to compete successfully in the global economy and to maintain our role as a world leader, the United States needs to ensure that its citizens develop a broad understanding of the world, proficiency in other languages, and knowledge of other cultures. America's leadership also depends on building ties with those who will guide the political, cultural, and economic development of their countries in the future. A coherent and coordinated international education strategy will help us meet the twin challenges of preparing our citizens for a global environment while continuing to attract and educate future leaders from abroad. Since World War II, the Federal Government, in partnership with institutions of higher education and other educational organizations, has sponsored programs to help Americans gain the international experience and skills they will need to meet the challenges of an increasingly interdependent world. During this same period, our colleges and universities have developed an educational system whose reputation attracts students from all over the world. But our work is not done. Today, the defense of U.S. interests, the effective management of global issues, and even an understanding of our Nation's diversity require ever-greater contact with, and understanding of, people and cultures beyond our borders.

We are fortunate to count among our staunchest friends abroad those who have experienced our country and our values through in-depth exposure as students and scholars. The nearly 500,000 international students now studying in the United States at the postsecondary level not only contribute some $9 billion annually to our economy, but also enrich our communities with their cultures, while developing a lifelong appreciation for ours. The goodwill these students bear for our country will in the future constitute one of our greatest foreign policy assets.

It is the policy of the Federal Government to support international education. We are committed to:
  • encouraging students from other countries to study in the United States;

  • promoting study abroad by U.S. students;

  • supporting the exchange of teachers, scholars, and citizens at all levels of society;

  • enhancing programs at U.S. institutions that build international partnerships and expertise;

  • expanding high-quality foreign language learning and in-depth knowledge of other cultures by Americans;

  • preparing and supporting teachers in their efforts to interpret other countries and cultures for their students; and

  • advancing new technologies that aid the spread of knowledge throughout the world.

The Federal Government cannot accomplish these goals alone. Educational institutions, State and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and the business community all must contribute to this effort. Together, we must increase and broaden our commitment. Therefore, I direct the heads of executive departments and agencies, working in partnership with the private sector, to take the following actions:

  1. The Secretaries of State and Education shall support the efforts of schools and colleges to improve access to high- quality international educational experiences by increasing the number and diversity of students who study and intern abroad, encouraging students and institutions to choose nontraditional study-abroad locations, and helping under-represented U.S. institutions offer and promote study-abroad opportunities for their students.

  2. The Secretaries of State and Education, in partnership with other governmental and nongovernmental organizations, shall identify steps to attract qualified post-secondary students from overseas to the United States, including improving the availability of accurate information overseas about U.S. educational opportunities.

  3. The heads of agencies, including the Secretaries of State and Education, and others as appropriate, shall review the effect of U.S. Government actions on the international flow of students and scholars as well as on citizen and professional exchanges, and take steps to address unnecessary obstacles, including those involving visa and tax regulations, procedures, and policies.

  4. The Secretaries of State and Education shall support the efforts of State and local governments and educational insti-tutions to promote international awareness and skills in the classroom and on campuses. Such efforts include strengthening foreign language learning at all levels, including efforts to achieve bi-literacy, helping teachers acquire the skills needed to understand and interpret other countries and cultures for their students, increasing opportunities for the exchange of faculty, administrators, and students, and assisting educational institutions in other countries to strengthen their teaching of English.

  5. The Secretaries of State and Education and the heads of other agencies shall take steps to ensure that international educational exchange programs, including the Fulbright program, are coordinated through the Interagency Working Group on United States Government-Sponsored International Exchange and Training, to maximize existing resources in a nonduplicative way, and to ensure that the exchange programs receive the support they need to fulfill their mission of increased mutual understanding.

  6. The Secretary of Education, in cooperation with other agencies, shall continue to support efforts to improve U.S. education by developing comparative information, including benchmarks, on educational performance and practices. The Secretary of Education shall also share U.S. educational expertise with other countries.

  7. The Secretaries of State and Education shall strengthen and expand models of international exchange that build lasting cross-national partnerships among educational institutions with common interests and complementary objectives.

  8. The Secretary of Education and the heads of other agencies, in partnership with State governments, academic institutions, and the business community, shall strengthen programs that build international expertise in U.S. institutions, with the goal of making international education an integral component of U.S. undergraduate education and, through graduate and professional training and research, enhancing the Nation's capacity to produce the international and foreign-language expertise necessary for U.S. global leadership and security.

  9. The Secretaries of State and Education, in cooperation with other agencies, the academic community, and the private sector, shall promote wise use of technology internationally, examining the implications of borderless education. The heads of agencies shall take steps to ensure that the opportunities for using technology to expand international education do not result in a widening of the digital divide.
  10. The Secretaries of State and Education, in conjunction with other agencies, shall ensure that actions taken in response to this memorandum are fully integrated into the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) framework by means of specific goals, milestones, and measurable results, which shall be included in all GPRA reporting activities, including strategic plans, performance plans, and program performance reports.

Items 1-10 of this memorandum shall be conducted subject to the availability of appropriations, consistent with the agencies priorities and my budget, and to the extent permitted by law. The Vice President shall coordinate the U.S. Government's international education strategy. Further, I direct that the heads of agencies report to the Vice President and to me on their progress in carrying out the terms of this memorandum.

This memorandum is a statement of general policy and does not confer a private right of action on any individual or group.


Clinton, William J., (April 19, 2000). "Memorandum For the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies," Office of the Press Secretary, the White House.