In 2016/17, Vietnamese students enrolled in US colleges and universities contributed $818 million to the US economy, according to the Open Doors 2017 report. (Source: US Department of Commerce) Keep in mind that those data are from fall 2016 and are limited to higher education.
Let’s update and extrapolate using SEVIS data from December 2017. This includes both higher education and secondary enrollment. The latter refers to day and boarding schools. And let’s use the same figure: $36,456 per student.
As of the end of 2017, there were 31,389 Vietnamese studying in the US. Here’s the breakdown for the aforementioned categories:
- Higher education: 23383 * $36,456 = $852,450,648 (Note: This includes both undergraduate, graduate students and recent graduates with OPT status, taking into account that a sizable number of currently enrolled students at both levels receive varying levels of scholarship support. Remember, this is about economic impact not the total amount being paid by Vietnamese parents for their children’s education and living costs in the US.)
- English language training: 2681 * $25,000 = $67,025,000 (This is a guesstimate, perhaps on the conservative side.)
- Secondary education: 4129 * $36,456 = $150,526,824 (I used the OD number. This is a reasonable estimate knowing that many boarding schools are in the 40-55k range with day schools costing much less. (Feel free to question these figures, dear reader. If I err, it is hopefully on the conservative side.)
Drum roll… The total economic impact of Vietnamese students on the US economy is… over $1 billion: $1,070,002,472. Now THAT’s significant economic impact.
This amount does not include other categories that involve Vietnamese nationals or their Vietnamese sponsors spending money in the US such as other vocational school (36), flight school (121), primary school (141), and other (898).
The always popular issue of how much Vietnamese parents are spending on their children’s education and living expenses in the US is another matter. One can assume that it’s a significant percentage of the total economic impact amount.
Addendum: The Vietnamese media routinely use the $3 billion figure when talking about how much parents spend on overseas study for their children. Unlike fine wine, that number is not aging well with the passage of time. In fact, the actual number is even higher, given the fact that there are more Vietnamese students than even studying abroad, including over 140,000 in the top five host countries alone: 1) Japan; 2) USA; 3) Australia; 4) China; and 5) the UK.