Bringing Higher Education Within Reach for Colombia’s Youth


Four decades of armed conflict scar the modern history of Colombia. While there has been great progress toward reclaiming peace, the country needs greater economic productivity, social inclusion and equality to maintain stability and spur economic growth.  This will only happen if more young people can get the education and skills they need to find employment and live better lives.

Yet, budget constraints limit public resources for education, and access to quality tertiary education and skills training remains a challenge in Colombia. Over three million secondary-school graduates don’t have the opportunity to go on to higher education.

Private education providers, like Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios (UNIMINUTO), are helping to fill that gap with high-quality programs geared for employment and generating social and economic benefits.

UNIMINUTO is a private, non-profit, Catholic university in Colombia that welcomes students from all walks of life. Through its innovative model, it serves students in over 30 locations, from densely populated cities to remote villages on the edge of the Amazon. Eighty-two percent of alumni gain employment within six months of graduation. This is quite a remarkable feat, given that 98 percent of students come from low-income families, and many are the first in their families to attend a university. Furthermore, an impressive 70 percent of UNIMINUTO’s students are female.

UNIMINUTO works with industry and government to ensure programs are relevant to the needs of employers and graduates gain skills that are marketable in the workforce. More than half its programs are vocational and focused on Colombia’s key economic sectors, including agribusiness, hotel management, construction, web design, and occupational health. Tuition is relatively low and the university offers affordable financing options.


For nearly 102,000 students, UNIMINUTO is providing not just a path out of poverty, but a path to greater personal fulfillment as students gain wealth for their families, an enriched career and a sense of personal pride in giving back to the community. With its philosophy of social inclusion UNIMINUTO is changing lives of thousands of students and is contributing to social and economic progress in Colombia.

Uniminuto serves students from densley populated cities to remote villages on the edge of the Amazon.


Read more about how UNIMINUTO is scaling up access to education and bringing entrepreneurship, innovation and jobs to marginalized communities in Colombia in IFC’s latest case study, Education Within Reach of All.


Published: December 16, 2015