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USA: international students spend $26.8 billion

International students and their dependents contributed $26.8bn to the US economy and around 340,000 jobs were created or supported by the international education industry in the last academic year, according to an analysis carried out for leading industry body NAFSA.

Dark green signifies the largest economic gains from international students. The Northeast region of the US saw the most benefit, with 103,469 jobs and $7,926.7 according to NAFSA.

International students’ contribution to the country’s economy is up by almost 12% compared to 2012-13

The analysis, based on enrolment data from the 2014 Open Doors report, shows that international students’ contribution to the country’s economy is up by almost 12% compared to 2012-13.

Three US jobs were created or supported for every seven enrolled international students

According to the association’s calculations, three US jobs were created or supported for every seven enrolled international students, marking an 8.5% increase in supported jobs.

Of the 123,465 directly and 216,542 indirectly supported jobs, just over half were in higher education, with other sectors including accommodation, dining and retail also seeing a marked benefit.

NAFSA has also released an interactive International Student Economic Value Tool along with the statistics, which shows ten-year trends and allows users to break down the data to regional, state, and congressional district level.

It shows the Northeast region saw the most benefit, with 103,469 jobs and a $7,926.7m economic boost, compared with the Midwest’s $5,875.0 million and 77,688 total jobs.

Unsurprisingly, California, New York and Massachusetts – three of the country’s top study destinations – together brought in more than a third of the jobs and almost a quarter of the total money.

“As we continue to acknowledge the indisputable fact that international students contribute to the US economy more each year, we cannot underestimate their immeasurable academic and cultural contributions to America’s colleges, universities and local communities,” NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene Johnson commented.

These statistics will be used to back up the case for legislative reform of policies affecting international students in the USA as it continues to lose global market share of international students, despite the heartening economic figures.

OECD statistics published earlier this year revealed a 10% slump in market share despite the number of internationally mobile students doubling worldwide over the same period.

For its part, NAFSA has pledged to continue to push for immigration reform and “to develop other proactive government policies and strategies to ensure the country remains globally competitive”, a spokesperson said.

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