Cuban students exit Marta Abreu Central University in Santa Clara, Cuba July 11, 2014. (AP/Franklin Reyes)
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As the U.S. and Cuba mend ties, colleges in both countries are forming partnerships that once were heavily restricted.Only months after the U.S. eased travel restrictions, several colleges have struck agreements with Cuban schools to create exchange programs for students and faculty. More American colleges are planning study trips to Cuba, and both sides are exploring research projects.For many U.S. colleges, Cuba also represents a largely untapped pool of future students.Financial constraints in Cuba would leave most students dependent on financial aid, but there is strong interest in a U.S. education."Here we take two years of English, so in terms of the language I think we are well-prepared," said Omar Concepcion, who is in his last year of physics at the University of Havana, "and on the physics side [Americans] are very advanced, so it would be very advantageous for us". Colleges acknowledged that they would have to provide financial aid to Cuban students they recruit.
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