If you’re a student from Venezuela trying to study outside of the country, then you’re most likely familiar with the difficulties of obtaining foreign currency from the Venezuelan government branch responsible for approving funds for education payments, CENCOEX (previously known as CADIVI). peerTransfer has successfully processed hundreds of payments from Venezuela, and we know the process can be difficult and lengthy. Despite changes and uncertainty regarding CENCOEX, we will continue to process payments from Venezuela and provide assistance whenever possible.
Due to the recent political and financial instability in Venezuela, the government is struggling to manage its sovereign debt, making it harder to obtain foreign currency. CENCOEX was created to replace CADIVI in the wake of allegations that funds were being illegally moved outside the country. In its strict efforts to reduce any potential illegal activity, CENCOEX is now denying many currency disbursement applications, including those for education abroad. Only certain studies considered “vital to Venezuela’s future” will be funded, and the Ministry of Higher Education is trying to keep students in the country to attend university. Therefore, students will mostly be authorized only in very specialized academic areas that are not offered in the country (source: The PIE News).
According to education officials in the U.S. that work with international students from Venezuela, this is the first time there has been a mass refusal to grant the Venezuelan currency for students. During the first week of October, CENCOEX emailed notices of denied application to thousands of international students all over the world, citing “Article 8 Ruling No. 116,” which states that “the granting of the authorization is subject to availability by the Banco Central de Venezuela (Central Bank of Venezuela) identified by the National Executive Decree 2320”. The government does not see international students as a priority at the moment because the country does not have enough foreign currency (USD, GBP, etc.) at the moment and will be using available funds to purchase necessities like food and medicine. Even students whose applications were approved have to wait for funds, depending on the availability of foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Venezuela.
Schools are understandably concerned that students won’t receive funding in time to begin their courses. There have been delays of up to four months for some students waiting to begin their courses and of students already overseas having to cut courses short because funds were not received in time. To lessen the delay as much as possible, students should enroll at least five months before their course starts in order to have time to apply for their visa and wait for CENCOEX. Students should contact the school to which they’re applying because some institutions have begun making temporary exceptions to their pre-course payment policies in the case of Venezuelan students.
There is still a great deal of uncertainty and few to no answers. Some Venezuelan students have taken their cause to the Internet, creating online crowdfunding campaigns requesting help to fund their education outside of the country. As the situation becomes clearer, peerTransfer is here to support both our educational clients and their students. We continue to process payments from Venezuela, and our Customer Support team is always ready and available to answer any questions that Venezuelan students may have regarding making payments to their school.
Other informational resources:
http://prodavinci.com/2014/10/17/actualidad/que-esta-pasando-con-los-dolares-para-los-estudiantes-por-nicolle-yapur/ (in Spanish)
http://www.elsiglo.com.ve/article/92494/Revisan-casos-de-estudiantes-en-el-exterior-que-no-reciben-divisas (in Spanish)