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Manchester, United Kingdom — 22-25 September 2009

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International students at US community colleges a big contributor to the nation’s economy

Jun 15, 2018

New data released by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has shown that the nearly 100,000 international students attending community colleges in the United States, during the 2016-2017 academic year, contributed up to $2.4 billion to the nation’s economy and supported more than 14,000 jobs. The 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 US community colleges.

According to the analysis, five states exceeded $100 million in contributions from international students at community colleges, with California nearing the US $1 billion mark. Additionally, the data showed that for every six international students enrolled at US community colleges, one US job was created and supported by spending occurring in the higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance sectors.

“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,” said Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO at NAFSA. “The results of this analysis demonstrate that as community colleges continue to prioritise internationalisation 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.”

When looking at US institutions more broadly, international students in fact contributed close to $36.9 billion and more than 450,000 jobs to the US economy. NAFSA releases their economic analysis annually, with the most recent data published last November.

About the study
The economic analysis was conducted for NAFSA by Jason Baumgartner of Indiana University’s Office of International Services, using enrolment data from the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2017 report, 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.

Source: NAFSA: Association of International Educators