Study USA is a successful, innovative program aimed at offering undergraduate Catholic and Protestant students from Northern Ireland the opportunity to study in a U.S. college or university. Originally known as the Business Education Initiative (BEI), two of the goals for the young adult participants are the development of business knowledge and community-building skills.
Since 1994, over 1,900 students have benefited from this program. For many years, anecdotal evidence suggested these goals were reached. In 2002, an evaluative study by Price Waterhouse Coopers documented the program’s success, and in 2014 an evaluation conducted by the Business Consultancy Service of the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel once again confirmed these positive outcomes.
Catholic higher education has always been supportive of this important program. Originally, the BEI program was part of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). Eventually, it migrated to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). As of November 1, 2006, the BEI program once again found its home at ACCU, where it remains under the new title, Study USA (SUSA).
In collaboration with our partners at the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the United Methodist Church, 54 Northern Ireland students are studying tuition-free at U.S. colleges and universities this year. The Department for the Economy of Northern Ireland pays all room and board costs directly to the college. The program is administered and delivered by the British Council.
As a means of thanking our U.S. colleges and universities for hosting Study USA students, the Northern Ireland institutions offer a limited number of study places through the Irish American Scholars Program each year. This program enables approximately 45 American students from Study USA–supporting colleges (Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian) to spend a semester at a university or college in Northern Ireland, tuition-free. Please see the following links for more information regarding SUSA and the Irish American Scholars Program.