One million international students contribute $40 billion to the U.S. economy

One million international students contribute $40 billion to the U.S. economy

More than 1 million international students contributed $40.1 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2022-2023 school year, representing a significant 19 percent increase over the previous school year, according to data from NAFSA: Association of International Educators in Washington, D.C.

Although the economic benefit remains below the peak of about $40.5 billion set in the 2018-2019 academic year, this is the second straight year of growth recorded after the negative impact of the pandemic that began in March 2020. Colleges and universities have rebounded US enrollment is off its lowest point during the pandemic, rising 12% to 1,057,188 in 2022-2023, an increase of more than 100,000 students according to the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Open Doors report.

“International education not only benefits individuals. It is also vital to American diplomacy, to our economic competitiveness, and even to our national security,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a recorded statement issued during a live Open Doors presentation.

International students make contributions not only through the tuition fees they pay to American institutions of higher education but also through their spending on accommodation, transportation, food, and consumer goods during their stay in the United States.

“Their contributions to the U.S. economy are significant, and it is encouraging to see a year-over-year increase for the second year in a row,” Fanta O, NAFSA’s executive director and CEO, said in a statement.

The economic activity of international students also supported 368,333 jobs, an increase of 9.8 percent compared to the previous year. NAFSA estimates that three international students contribute to creating or supporting one job in the United States. California, New York, and Texas hosted the most international students and nine states surpassed the billion-dollar mark in terms of economic contributions made by these students.

However, the impact of international students goes beyond what this population spends during their years earning an American university or college degree. They bring a diverse range of experiences to universities, bring international perspectives to the classroom and become part of local students’ global alumni networks, according to international education experts.

“Those in the international student support profession will be quick to stress that their contributions go far beyond economic impact,” said Eddie West, associate dean for strategy and international programs at San Diego State University’s SDSU Global Campus.

West added that even when measuring the economic impact of international students, the benefits are not comprehensively evaluated.

“It is important to realize what a boon their spending can be to the national and local economies,” West said. “NAFSA data does not yet include the economic impact of international students who remain in the United States after graduation, whether on H-1B visas, by starting businesses, or after becoming permanent residents.”

According to Open Doors data, the number of Indian students studying in the US in 2022-23 rose by 35% to 268,923. While there are still a larger number of Chinese students enrolled in American colleges and universities (289,526), ​​the growth in the numbers of these students has been essentially flat (-0.2%).
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(tags for translation)United States

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