The nearly 100,000 international students attending U.S. community colleges during the last academic year contributed $2.4 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 14,000 jobs.
Contributions from international students at community colleges in California alone neared the $1 billion mark, and exceeded $100 million in another four states according to the analysis, which was commissioned by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The data also show that for every six international students enrolled at U.S. community colleges, one U.S. job is created and supported by spending occurring in the higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance sectors.
The most recent data, released last November, show that international students at all U.S. higher education institutions contributed $36.9 billion and more than 450,000 jobs to the economy, making a significant dent in the trade deficit. The U.S. services trade surplus with China increased from an annual average of less than $2 billion from 2000-2008 to $37.4 billion in 2016 (0.2 percent of U.S. GDP).
This community college-specific analysis was conducted in response to a renewed emphasis within the higher education community on the importance of international student recruitment to U.S. community colleges. “Community colleges provide a fertile environment for students of all walks of life to learn and develop vital skills that will lead to professional success,” stated Esther D. Brimmer, executive director and CEO at NAFSA. “The results of this analysis demonstrate that as community colleges continue to prioritize internationalization in their expansion efforts, and as they continue to welcome international students to their campuses, our country and our students are the better for it.”
The economic analysis was conducted by Jason Baumgartner of Indiana University’s Office of International Services, using enrollment data from the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2017 report, which is produced in partnership with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, tuition and expense data from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center of Educational Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and jobs data from the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and Bureau of Economic Analysis.