The Impact of International Students on the U.S. Economy
The Economic Impact of America’s International Students
For decades, the U.S. has been the top destination for students looking to study abroad.
It’s easy to see why. Not only does the country provide access to world-class economic hubs like Silicon Valley, but the U.S. is also home to 14 of the top 20 universities in the world, many of which are famed for their research and alumni networks.
Yet, there is cause for concern.
International enrollments in the U.S. have slowed, while other countries are attracting a larger share of the global talent pool. To help us understand what’s at stake if enrollments continue to decline, today’s infographic shows the impact of international students on the U.S. economy.
Driving American Innovation and Growth
International students and scholars are a vital economic asset, and America’s ability to attract them puts the country in an enviable position.
First, there are the direct economic benefits which result from tuition fees and living expenses. Throughout the 2018/2019 school year, these benefits totaled $41 billion, a comparable value to many other American exports:
Source: NAFSA, Evans, WorldCity
Even after graduation, however, international students and scholars continue to make significant contributions to the U.S. economy.
For example, attracting the world’s brightest minds helps to grow the knowledge economy in the United States, and 40% of American Nobel Prizes won in chemistry, medicine, and physics since 2000 have been awarded to immigrants. Furthermore, students who return home often do so with a network of connections and an appreciation for American culture, thus promoting U.S. international leadership.
Finally, these individuals can also go on to become successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in the U.S. economy. The list is long, but here are two noteworthy examples:
- Elon Musk, known for founding Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX, was born in South Africa. He received two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania before founding his first business.
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was an international student from India. He received an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Chicago before helping Microsoft develop its cloud computing capabilities.
Cause for Concern
In recent years, however, the number of new international students enrolling at U.S. institutions has been on the decline:
|School Year||New International Student Enrollments in the U.S.||Percent Change|
Source: Institute of International Education
With so many opportunities and success stories, why have international enrollments slowed? A survey of 509 higher education institutions in the U.S. revealed the top reasons for declining international enrollments:
|Cited Reason for Decline in Enrollment||% of Institutions|
|% of Institutions|
|% of Institutions
|Visa Application Process (delays/denials)||34%||68%||83%|
|Social and Political Environment||15%||57%||60%|
|Enroll in Another Country’s Institutions||19%||54%||59%|
|Cost of Tuition||51%||55%||57%|
|Securing a Job||-||41%||44%|
Critically, the two most common reasons for declining enrollment—visa applications and the social and political environment—suggest that the quality of an American education is not the issue. Rather, it would appear that students are being discouraged from coming to the United States.
When we discourage or turn away international students, we lose much more than the students themselves… We lose their inventions and innovation, their collaborative input and their contributions to our communities.
– Dr. Martha E. Pollack, President, Cornell University
At the same time, other countries are taking proactive measures to attract global talent.
Australia allows its international students to work for up to 18 months after graduation. This limit can increase to 4 years for graduates of high-demand occupations. In 2018, the country saw a 15% increase in international enrollments.
Canada, a country distinguished for its multiculturalism, is quickly becoming an attractive destination for international students. The country offers expedited visa processing for qualified individuals, as well as a 3-year work visa for graduates. In 2017, international enrollments in Canada grew by an impressive 20%.
The world’s brightest minds are an important asset for continued innovation and growth, and today, there is a mass of countries welcoming them with open arms.
While the U.S. is still the preferred destination for international students and scholars, the country’s leadership in this space is at risk. In fact, since 2001, the share of international students in America has fallen from 28% to 21%.
Will the U.S be able to maintain global competitiveness if the number of new international students enrolling continues to fall? Can the country work to cultivate a more welcoming and barrier-free route to higher education?
These are potent questions that will need to be answered, especially with a sizable economic impact on the line.
Visualized: The 4 Billion Year Path of Human Evolution
From single cells to bipedalism, humans have come a long way. Explore the fascinating journey of human evolution in this infographic.
The 4 Billion Year Path of Human Evolution
The story of human evolution is a fascinating one, stretching back in an unbroken chain over millions of years.
From the tiniest protocells to modern humans, our species has undergone a remarkable journey of adaptation, innovation, and survival.
In this article, we take a look at the key developmental stages in the evolution of life on Earth that led to the emergence of Homo sapiens—us!
From Protocells to People
Evolution is the result of millions of minute mutations over millions of years, but the evolutionary process that created us can bucketed into a few key categories.
1. Protocells and Early Microorganisms
The first life forms on Earth were simple, single-celled microorganisms known as protocells. These precursor cells lacked a nucleus or other membrane-bound organelles, and they had simple genetic proteins called RNA.
Over time, RNA complexified into the more stable DNA. Protocells slowly developed specialized organelles, becoming more complex microbes that would eventually form eukaryotes – the complex, unicellular organisms that would birth a diverse array of life forms, from simple sponges to complex animals.
2. The First Animals
Dickinsonia is the earliest example of an animal we know of. Though it was a simple, flat creature that lacked a mouth or digestive system, it symbolizes the first multicellular organism of substantial complexity.
Over time, the first sophisticated organ systems began to arise. Bilateral symmetry emerged, as well as early versions of the nervous and circulatory systems. Simple eyes, called eyespots, also appeared around the time that spinal cords and vertebrate creatures began to emerge.
3. Fish and Tetrapods
One of the most significant developments in the evolution of life was the transition from marine to terrestrial environments.
Up until 500 million years ago, all life was sequestered in the sea. Fish were the first vertebrates and introduced additional organs like stomachs, spleens, and body components like scales, teeth, blood, and more. Bony fish arose, and over time their development brought about sophisticated changes to the skeletal system, eventually producing “proto-limbs” that would enable organisms to walk on land.
Researchers are still unsure which specific organism might have first crawled on land, but candidates share these pre-limb characteristics. Tiktaalik is one popular candidate because it had specialized bones that suggest it could support its own weight while moving out of shallow waters.
These creatures eventually became the tetrapods (“four-footed”), and they had features like four-legs, a backbone, and lungs which could absorb oxygen from air. All the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that followed are descendants of the original tetrapods.
4. The First Mammals
Around 200 million years ago, the first mammals emerged. These early mammals were small, shrew-like creatures that lived alongside the dinosaurs. Over time, however, mammals evolved hair, specialized teeth, sweat glands to regulate body temperature, and a more efficient circulatory system.
Mammals also brought about features like nocturnality, mammary glands, external genitalia, and a variety of other features that distinguished them from other living species at the time, like birds or reptiles.
5. The Great Apes and First Homo Species
Around 7 million years ago, the first great apes emerged in Africa. These apes, such as orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, were highly intelligent and social creatures that lived in complex communities. Over time, one lineage of apes would give rise to the first members of the genus Homo, which includes our own species.
The main developmental changes during this time were the full-time bipedalism of apes, increasing brain size, and advanced bone development that enabled dexterity for tool construction and hunting. Inventions like fire and clothing arose early in the Homo genus, and eventually complex language, hair loss, and dramatic facial changes would evolve.
Researchers struggle with resolving the exact progression of the Homo species. Many Homo species existed at the same time, and since many fossil records overlap, resolving which ones came first is an area of intense focus.
The Future of Human Evolution
As humans continue to evolve, we can expect to see significant changes in our physical and cognitive abilities over the next 10,000 years.
With the rise of technology and the increasing interconnectedness of the world, we may see a shift towards a more globalized and homogeneous human population, with less genetic diversity.
This has been described as “The Great Averaging”, where genetic diversity minimizes and we start to become more alike.
Other theories suggest that we might develop features like a taller, lighter build, with smaller brains and a less aggressive personality.
However, as with all evolution, these changes will be shaped by a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and cultural factors. It is impossible to predict exactly how humans will evolve over the next 10,000 years, but one thing is certain: the future of human evolution will be shaped by the choices we make today.
VC+4 weeks ago
Coming Soon: Here’s What’s Coming to VC+ Next
Batteries2 weeks ago
Mapped: Renewable Energy and Battery Installations in the U.S. in 2023
Economy4 weeks ago
Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People
Technology2 weeks ago
Nvidia Joins the Trillion Dollar Club
Energy4 weeks ago
How EV Adoption Will Impact Oil Consumption (2015-2025P)
Misc1 week ago
Comparing Population Pyramids Around the World
Wealth3 weeks ago
Ranked: The World’s Top 50 Endowment Funds
Green6 days ago
Ranked: The 20 Most Air-Polluted Cities on Earth