Foreign students contributed $39 billion to the US economy, supporting 455,000 jobs in 2017-18, says study

A study by a leading US think tank says foreign students contributed $39 billion to the US economy and supported 455,000 jobs during 2017-18.

Titled “Recruiting, Retaining and Capitalizing on International Students at US Universities,” the study by Washington, DC-based non-partisan Niskanen Center says that for every seven international students enrolled in the US universities, three American jobs are created, highlighting the importance of foreign students for the economic, academic, scientific and technological advancement in the US.

India is currently placed 2nd after China in the number of students it sends to the US, according to US immigration data. There are approximately 1.1 million foreign students currently enrolled in the US, with about 250,000 coming from India, data shows.

A 2015 data from UNESCO revealed that the US remained the topmost destination for international students from around the world. The data also revealed that China, India and Korea are the topmost countries that send their students to study abroad.

In fact, in 2016, the three nations accounted for 54 percent of all newly enrolled students in the US. While highlighting the importance of the role of foreign students in enhancing American innovation and productivity, the study also underlined the economic impact of this group.

The study also throws important spotlight on the benefits of student visas at a time when the White House is planning to change the criteria regarding international students’ length of stay and continuing to make it harder for student visa holders to stay in the country after their graduation.

The Niskanen Center, which promotes a social order that is open to political, social and cultural change, study also reveals that foreign students make college more affordable for native-born students by paying out-of-state tuition. Much of this revenue goes toward scholarships and financial assistance for native-born students.

The brief also says that international students bolster US academic programs. It quotes a February 2019 survey from The Council of Graduate Schools, which revealed that the new international enrollment declined through the previous two fall admission cycles. The international enrollment dipped by 16 percent during 2017-18. In 2018, 49 percent of US universities reported a decline in international enrollments. And the top reasons for this drop were visa delays and the Trump effect.

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