Argentina has a robust system of public and private higher education institutions which are attended by about half of the college-aged population. The number of students completing a university degree program is one of the highest in the world. However, despite free tuition, higher education is attended by students from higher income families in considerably greater numbers than by lower-income students. Admission to universities is determined by each individual university with most public universities having open enrollment to anyone who has graduated from secondary school. Some private institutions use standardized exams and interviews to evaluate candidates. Because of quality issues in the country's primary and secondary education system, some universities require students to attend a preparatory year before being admitted to a degree program. The Ministry of Education is responsible for policies and regulations in regards to the national universities and institutes. Accreditation of both public and private institutions is granted by the National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation (CONEAU) which falls under the Ministry of Education. Tuition for undergraduate programs at national universities is free while at private and parochial universities it varies but is generally less than in the US or the UK. Graduate studies are not free but are often funded through students' teaching and research work.
Types of Schools and Degrees
The higher education system primarily consists of approximately 40 national universities and 45 parochial and private universities which offer a broad array of degree programs. There are also about 20 public and private institutes which are schools that offer programs limited to one subject area. About 80 percent of undergraduate students attend national universities. Argentina's higher education system has three levels. The first level encompasses one to three-year degrees offered in technical and education fields. The second level is the university level which is comprised of professional education programs that take between four and six years to complete. The third level is post-graduate research-oriented education resulting in two levels of degrees: master's and doctoral.
International students are welcome to study in Argentina by applying directly to a university or through a study-abroad program. Students who want to enroll in a degree program at a national university will need to go to the Argentine consulate in the student's home country to apply for a seat. Those who want to attend a private university do not need to take this step. The only requirements for admission to a national university are graduation from a secondary school and fluency in Spanish. Private universities may require students take a standardized exam and/or complete an interview. Most international students are drawn to study in the capital of Buenos Aires either at the University of Buenos Aires, which is the country's most highly rated university, or at one of the other private or public universities located there. Currently, tuition for foreigners is free at national universities although there may be administrative fees. Tuition at private universities is very reasonable compared with tuition at US or UK universities.
Argentina is the second largest country in South America, located in the south of the country, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Chile and Uruguay. Its population of 41 million people is primarily of Spanish and Italian descent. The country's climate varies widely from subtropical in the north to subpolar in the far south. The capital of Buenos Aires is the largest city with over three million people. Argentina is known internationally for the tango dance and its high quality wine. It is one of the world's top agricultural producers and also has strong manufacturing and service sectors. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was ranked 23rd in the world in 2009. While education is important to Argentinians, its quality has suffered in recent years. However, a renewed focus at the national level is improving educational quality and accessibility at all levels.
Study in Argentina - Official government website for foreign students who want to study in Argentina. Ministry of Education (Spanish language) National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation (CONEAU) - Accreditation body for all institutions of higher education in Argentina (Spanish language)