International students in US worth US$24bn

November 14, 2013

International students and their families at colleges and universities in the US contributed US$24 billion to the country’s economy in the 2012-13 academic year, supporting 313,000 jobs, according to research released by Nafsa.



The value of international students in the US 2012/13, source – www.nafsa.org


The findings, based on the recently released Open Doors enrolment data of 819,644 international students in 2012-13, represent a 10 per cent increase in dollar value and a 6.2 per cent rise in job support and creation, compared with the previous academic year.

California received the highest economic contribution from international students of any state at US$3.6bn, while overseas students at tertiary level were worth over a billion dollars in New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The total figure is broken down as: US$17.6bn from tuition fees; US$14.6bn in living expenses (predominantly accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance); US$393m from dependents’ living expenses; minus US support of international students (such as scholarships) at US$8.bn.

The economic analysis, conducted by Jason Baumgartner, Director of Information Services at Indiana University–Bloomington using Open Doors figures and tuition and expense data from the Department of Education’s National Center of Education Statistics, revealed that 114,614 jobs were directly created or supported by international students, with a further 198,361 indirectly supported.

A Nafsa statement said, “In addition to the economic benefits international students bring to the US, they contribute incalculable academic and cultural value to US colleges and universities and to local communities. International students build bridges between the US and other countries, bring global perspectives into US classrooms and research labs, and support US innovation through science and engineering coursework, making it possible for US colleges and universities to offer these courses to US students.”

Nafsa Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson used the release of the data to call upon the House of Representatives to pass an immigration reform bill to encourage STEM graduates to study and stay in the country and realise further economic potential.

“The Senate has already acted, so now the House must pass common sense, comprehensive immigration reform so that we can expand our ability to recruit, integrate and graduate talented international students, strengthen our economy and reclaim the values that make this nation a land of opportunity, equality and freedom,” she said.

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