'This is a major, badly needed and timely contribution,' said one Kyrgyz official.
Some parents in Kazakhstan still try to send their children abroad, but outreach by the government is making them think twice.
Young Kazahstanis studying abroad can become an easy target for terrorist recruiters, warn officials and clergy.
Authorities are acting on concerns about the influence of radical movements.
The coming reforms come after complaints about the previous system split students from their familiar environment after 9th grade.
Enrolling university students from other Central Asian countries will help foster regional co-operation and prevent youth radicalisation in Central Asia, predict observers.
Thousands of Kazakhstani high school students in Pavlodar Province participated in an online conference on countering extremism and terrorism.
For some university subjects in Uzbekistan, there are 20 applicants per available slot. Teachers are also significantly underpaid. Authorities are responding.
Efforts are meant to prevent the religious from becoming involved in extremist and terrorist organisations, specialists say.
Radicals are misusing Kazakhstani youth as a means to spread extremist ideas.