How International Students Add Billions to the US Economy

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Across the United States, record numbers of international students are joining colleges and universities for their journey through the system of higher education. A 2016 study by the Institute of International Students discovered that year saw just over 1,000,000 international students enrolled in the US education system.

But how does this influx of foreign students affect the economy of the US, and what does such a massive demographic have influence over?

Billions upon Billions of Dollars

For a clearer perspective, the total of these international students amounts just over 5 percent of the entire US student population. This may seem relatively small and potentially even insignificant, but it would be a mistake to discount it. In fact, billions upon billions of dollars enter the economy through this demographic in addition to the thousands and thousands of jobs they support.

According to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA), for every seven international students living in the US, three jobs are supported due to their presence. This is hugely significant, especially when you consider that the US international student population is actually rising slowly compared to other countries around the world that accept large volumes of students.

As expected, the costs of tuition and accommodation were the biggest contributors to the economy. However, in addition to these, the study also took into account the students’ expenditures on other life aspects such as retail spending, phone contracts and bills, health insurance, and other daily activities including food and transportation.

In total, in 2016, international students were responsible for over $32 billion worth of contributions to the economy, changing the lives of millions of people across the country. This contribution effect can be felt by people from all walks of life, as the expenditures come in all shapes and sizes.

Enriching Local Communities

Jessie Bowers, an economics expert and lecturer, explains:

One of the most overlooked aspects of international students enrolling in the United States is one where the students are contributing to their local communities. Small businesses and local retailers such as local cafés and shops all benefit greatly from the rise of international students. Likewise, more niche businesses such as custom writing services, such as Boom Essays and Essayroo, have boomed in recent years due to the increasing influx of students, increasing the income wages of domestic households across the States.

Many people believe the US higher education system isn’t doing enough to support international student populations, which will ultimately lead to a decline in enrollment rates.

Jack Sullivan, an educator from UKWritings, states:

Students across the States are still suffering from issues, such as language barriers, which has resulted in a complete lack of support. Students looking to pass their courses without having to worry about writing essays in the wrong format etc, flock to our services, leading to the recent boom in the industry over the last few years.

Studies are showing that this lack of support, among other aspects, may eventually lead to a decline in foreign student enrollment. Over the last 15 years, the number of students traveling abroad from their home countries to other higher education systems has doubled, yet America has only seen 6 percent of this total figure.

Support and some level of investment need to be put forward to these international students, welcoming them into the country and giving them the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. With an accurate and fair amount of support, the United States could see this figure start to rise, which, statistically, would result in more jobs and more contributions to the overall economy.

In the meantime, businesses are thriving and will for the foreseeable future, supporting households and families coast to coast.