Use Your Voice to Make a Difference for International Students

The United States is increasingly at risk of losing its position as the most attractive country for international students and scholars.
Rashi Menda, Camilo Navarro, and Xiang Xu are just three of the international students whose stories demonstrate the positive impact of international students and scholars on the U.S. economy. Photos: Courtesy Rashi Menda, Camilo Navarro, Xiang Xu
Esther D. Brimmer, DPhil

NAFSA has a long history of defending and advocating the contributions of international students and scholars in the United States. NAFSA continues to draw on this tradition to confront the current assaults on the United States’s ability to welcome international students and scholars to our educational institutions.

At the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo, I announced that NAFSA was launching a multiyear, multifaceted campaign to advocate for international students and scholars and advance international education. Here is an update and ways you can participate.

The goal of the campaign is to improve and strengthen key policymakers’ opinions and understanding of international students so that there are strong leaders and champions for international education in Congress and around the country to defend international students and scholars in times of crisis.

In 2018, here at NAFSA, we began collecting stories of the positive impact international students have on local communities and sharing these compelling stories on our website and with policymakers. We also created infographics showing the myriad ways in which international students and scholars create jobs, drive innovation, spur research, strengthen national security, and serve as essential ambassadors and allies to the United States. 

For example, NAFSA’s International Student Economic Value Tool shows that international students and scholars contributed $39 billion and 455,000 jobs to the United States during the 2017–18 academic year.

Drawing on these data, NAFSA members then encouraged members of Congress to use examples from their respective districts to speak more publicly about their support for international

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