I recently came across this news item. The University of Iowa received $35 million in federal stimulus funding of which it used $200,000 to hire a recruiter and buy advertising. “The three countries that provide us with the largest number of international students are South Korea, China and India,” according to UI President Sally Mason. UI’s international student population rose dramatically, from 30 undergraduates four years ago to nearly 500 this fall semester.
This is money well spent. In 2008/09 the economic benefits of international students to the State of Iowa was $204,025,000. The contribution of UI’s 2379 international students was estimated to be $53,515,000. (That averages out to $22,495 per student.) Up the road a ways in Cedar Rapids, Kirkwood Community College had a total contribution of $3.95 million from its 191 international students. For more information, check out The Economic Benefits of International Education to the United States for the 2008-2009 Academic Year: A Statistical Analysis, (PDF) published by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
While there are many benefits, tangible and intrinsic, to recruiting and hosting international students, it’s the economic impact argument that seems to carry the greatest weight in the realm of politics and in these economically troubled times in the U.S.
(Source: NAFSA: Association of International Educators)