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International ed in top 7 priorities for US exports

The US government has indicated that it is prioritising international education in its National Export Strategy for the first time.

Education will be a $7 trillion industry for the US by 2025. Photo: Unsplash

In 2022, US exports of education-related travel totalled $37.68 billion

US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo released the 2023 NES, which notably includes a full chapter on international education.

The long-awaited strategy highlighted that education will be a $7 trillion industry by 2025. A significant element of this is travel exports for education purposes, which includes all expenditures by inbound international students to the US.

In 2022, US exports of education-related travel totalled $37.68 billion, a 17% increase from the previous year.

“Education exports also return cross-cutting economic benefits to the nation through workforce development, R&D, and foreign direct investment – which underpin prosperity, economic development, and competitiveness across sectors,” highlighted the report.

The strategy showcases the “novel approaches” in five areas being taken to promote the US as a leading study destination, in a bid to better equip US companies and workers to compete globally and grow through international trade;

  • Connecting US institutions and consortia with foreign groups interested in US education
  • Promoting the US as a premier study destination
  • Highlighting the importance of international education as a US export
  • Identifying and promoting global opportunities to the US education industry
  • Levelling the playing field in export markets

“The NES builds on long-standing educational exchanges, including the US Department of State’s flagship The Fulbright Program and EducationUSA global advising, to maintain and grow the United States as the premier study destination for international students,” said EducationUSA in a LinkedIn post.

“The NES builds on long-standing educational exchanges”

The report to Congress also delved into the non-economic benefits of welcoming international students to the US-strengthened relationships between current and future leaders, global competency and supporting US research and innovation.

Touching on the repercussions of the pandemic, the report highlighted that 2020 marked the largest single-year drop in the dollar amount contributed by international students studying at US higher education institutions, according to NAFSA research.

The report cited unused capacity for additional enrolments at all levels of education, and the affordability of community colleges in a list of advantages the country has over other leading destinations.

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