New NAFSA Data: International Students Contribute Nearly $37 Billion to the U.S. Economy

 

New state and congressional level economic data now available
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rebecca Morgan, 202.495.2553, rebeccam@nafsa.org
Kolbie Blume, 202.495.2528, kolbieb@nafsa.org

Washington, November 13, 2017 – NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced results from its latest economic analysis of international students studying in the United States. The new data released today found that the more than one million international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $36.9 billion and supported more than 450,000 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2016-2017 academic year. This is a 12.4 percent increase in job support and creation and a 12.5 percent increase in dollars contributed to the economy from the previous academic year.

This year, 10 states broke the $1 billion mark in contributions from international students. California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania saw the largest benefits from spending by these students and their families on living expenses, tuition and fees. Further analysis shows that three U.S. jobs are created or supported for every seven enrolled international students, by spending in the following sectors: higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance.

This study shows the economic benefits of international students continue to increase annually. Still, while the number of internationally mobile students has doubled over the past fifteen years, the U.S. market share of international students is down by 3 percent, according to Project Atlas data. Additionally, the growth rate of students choosing to study in the United States decreased by nearly half from last year. NAFSA urges government leaders to enact proactive policies that will ensure the United States remains the top choice for prospective international students.

“Once again, the data show international students are an asset not only to their respective universities but also to communities and regions across the nation.” stated NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Esther D. Brimmer. “Given all the benefits that international students bring, we now face increasing global competition for this talent. It is in our best interest to strengthen policies that reflect our nation’s founding ideals of inclusivity and opportunity. We must continue to build bridges—not walls—and instill in every potential international student that all are welcome and valued here.”

The economic analysis was conducted for NAFSA by Jason Baumgartner of Indiana University’s Office of International Services, using enrollment data from the Institute of International Education's Open Doors 2017 report, which is produced in partnership with the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, tuition and expense data from the U.S. Education Department's National Center of Educational Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and jobs data from the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and Bureau of Economic Analysis.