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International Students

In: Social Issues

Submitted By molimoli
Words 1950
Pages 8
Target Audience: American citizens that concern about the role and impact of international students to the economy.
Having International Students, Gain or Loss to U.S. Economy?
The fame of the United States for education attracts many international students to this country every year. Besides being a good host, a portion of American citizens does not realize great contributions that international students bring to the economy. Moreover, there are even worries and complaints that international students are taking jobs away from domestic citizens after the President extended the time for international students to remain in the U.S. “the change could hurt U.S. job-seekers by making them compete against more foreign graduates” (“Obama”). Therefore, people who hold similar ideas believe it is better to diminish the flow of international students. “Community colleges and small state colleges especially should resist the lure of the foreign student market” (Vaughan). All of these misunderstandings neglect the positive role of these students and may harm the country in the long term. Reasonably speaking, international students play a crucial part in America’s economy and should not intimidate qualified job seekers. Providing education to international students is the lowest risk export. As data collected from the U.S Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, education ranked the third in U.S trade in private services in 2009 (Ward). In other words, education can be considered as a special service in which American educational institutes are suppliers and international students are consumers. However, unlike transportation, financial consulting or insurance, which most suppliers have to bring their services to other countries, schools and colleges located right in America and students from foreign countries will need to relocate to obtain the “service”. That said, the suppliers do not have to worry about catching customers’ tastes and preferences, they also do not need to concern about trade barriers, tariffs and foreign government policies. These concerns are all transferred to international students who then need to deal with visas, admission applications, housings, insurance, etc.
According Francisco J. Sánchez who is Under Secretary for International Trade in the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration, “Education plays a critical role in the work we do every day in the International Trade Administration …expanding U.S. educational opportunities for international students will have some direct benefits to our national economy” (Sánchez). So how much does it really worth in term of direct cash flow? During 2009-2010 academic year, Institute of International Education (IIE) estimated that there were about 690,923 foreign students in the U.S. Most of these students have more than 70% of their funding from sources outside America (Institute of International Education). NAFSA, the world's largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education, estimated that at that same academic year, international students and their dependents contributed to more than $19 billion dollars after deducting 28.3% of U.S support. Also in this report, Minnesota received $276.3 million dollars in total from international students’ tuitions and living expenses (“NAFSA”). This data demonstrate that it is true that international students receive some forms of financial assistance from America. However, America only needs to spend a small portion to gain a bigger profit from international students.
Hosting international students is a profitable service that can be offered by any states. Students come to America with different education plan. Those who participate in exchange program want to learn more about American culture and only stay within a year. Others who want to study English will stay longer like six months to one year. With students who want to pursue a bachelor, master or doctorate degrees time will also be longer. With all of these various demands, different states in America can take advantage of their own education strength to attract students and boost their local economy. According to the national center for education statistics, in 2007-2008 there were 139,207 educational institutions across the country (“Number of Educational Institutions”). With this giant number and its education reputation, there are plenty opportunities for every state.
Millinocket, a small town in Northern Maine is an example of many schools in the U.S. that try to attract international students to save its economy. In the article “Public Schools Recruit Tuition-Paying International Students To Boost Revenue”, Clarke Canfield reported that the overall population in Millinocket had aged and many young people decided to leave the town for better job opportunities, which led to 30 percent reduction in population and decline in enrollments and revenues. In the effort to boost the economy, Ken Smith, Millinocket superintendent and the heads of three private schools in Maine went on a recruiting trip to China last fall. He hoped to have at least 60 Chinese students-each paying $13,000 in tuition and another $11,000 for room and board to study at Stearns High School (Canfield). In the same article, the writer also compared these numbers with different high schools’,
In Maine, seven Chinese students are attending Orono High School, paying $13,000 each in tuition and $8,000 for room and board while staying with local families. Three Chinese students this year have attended Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, paying $15,000 in tuition and $5,000 for room and board to stay with local families (Canfield).
This is a win-win game for both international students and Maine. High school international students get the chance to experience American culture, improve their English and have a good preparation before applying for any colleges in the U.S. On the other hand, high schools in Maine will not shut down. Teachers and staffs will not worry about losing jobs due to low budget. Moreover, schools can even increase their revenues, Maine students receive the opportunities to interact with different cultures and local businesses obtain more jobs and profits from the flow of newcomers. In addition to the direct impact to the economy, international students also contribute to the development of U.S.’s economy in indirect ways. Besides students that study at high school and undergraduate levels, there are also a large portion of students study to obtain master and doctorate degree. According to Christine M. Matthews, a specialist in Science and Technology policy, “In 2006, the foreign student population earned approximately 36.2% of the doctorate degrees in the sciences and approximately 63.6% of the doctorate degrees in engineering”(United States). International students are dominating force in science and engineering field compared to “permanent resident status students earned 4.2% of the doctorates in both the sciences and engineering” (United Sates, 4-5). Moreover, in a research for World Bank Policy done by Aaditya Mattoo, a Lead Economist and his partners at the World Bank’s Development Economics Group found that:
Our central estimates suggest that a ten-percent increase in the number of foreign graduate students would raise patent applications by 4.7 percent, university patent grants by 5.3 percent and non-university patent grants by 6.7 percent. Thus, reductions in foreign graduate students from visa restrictions could significantly reduce U.S. innovative activity. (Chellaraj)
This data show that international students’ participation is an important part of the research enterprise. While enrolling in schools, they are great supports for faculties in teaching and research. Practically speaking, the more research and innovations that are created, everyone will be better off with greater productivity, higher quality products, more enriched lifestyle. The question remains is with all of these contributions and impacts to the U.S. economy will foreign students become a threat to American’s job security? The answer is certainly not. Before being accepted into any educational institutions, international students have to provide financial statements to prove that they will be able to afford all costs during their time staying in America. Therefore, to enrolling students, working should be considered as an option to get more experiences and deal with extreme economic difficulties. According to current regulations, international students who are enrolling in schools are allow to work up to 20 hours on campus and work full-time during breaks, yet those jobs do not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. (“On Campus-Basic Guidelines”) Foreign students are only allowed to work off-campus in case of unexpected severe economic hardship and emergent circumstances. (“Off Campus-Basic Guidelines”)
After graduation, international students have 90 days to apply for Optional Practical Program (OPT) to find a job before requiring leaving. Even with domestic students, this period is pretty short to obtain any job. Moreover, many companies are reluctant to hire international students “Many U.S. companies flatly refuse to hire foreign students as long as there are qualified American applicants… 38% said they would recruit such a student” (Alsop). Even though international students may be just as capable as domestic students, companies are hesitant to invest in them. They do not want to spend a lot of time and effort to train temporary workers. Therefore, international students have to go through a stricter selection and prove that they are the brightest and the best choice. Hence, high-skilled foreign students might be the threat to less competent candidates, yet, the high net profit for the whole economy. In a long term, no matter if international students decide to stay or go back to their countries, America still gains various benefits from hosting them. According to a study in 2006 by the National Venture Capital Association: During the previous 15 years, immigrants started one-quarter of the public companies in the United States backed by venture capital. These companies had a market capitalization of more than $500 billion and employed 220,000 workers in the United States in 2006. The largest of these immigrant-founded firms were Intel, Solectron, Sanmina-SCI, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Yahoo!, and Google. (Anderson) These people not basically earn a living for themselves, but also create jobs for others and contribute to U.S. economy. Also, many foreign students studied in America had become world leaders later on, such as President of France Jacques Chirac, President of Peru Alejandro Toledo, former UN Secretary General Kofi Anna, etc. ("ECA/A/S/A."). In 2009, Gloria Arroyo, a Georgetown alumni, who is now Philippines President became the first Southeast Asian leader received by President Obama. Their meeting was aimed to tighten the relationship between the two countries where President Arroyo also promised to “stand behind the US in two crucial issues in the region: Burma and North Korea.” (“Philippine President”). Apparently, receiving good education assisted these students reach the full potential to become world leaders. To American, this “service” emphasizes the role of America in producing talented heads, creates a strong connection between America and future world leaders and fortifies international relations. In recent years, international students play an important role in the U.S. economy. They provide direct cash flow to educational institutions in form of tuitions, rooms and boards. International students also boost the overall economy through other expenses such as foods, clothing, insurance, travelling and assistance for science and technology research and innovation. Although job security is a big concern for everyone, the presence of international students is not the main cause for job loss. With all that said, what would happen if the United States shut the door to international students? International students then still have other options to choose from such as Canada, Australia, and the Great Britain. The only one that loses in this situation is America. In the period of globalization, international students bring various benefits across nations in both short and long term. American thus can ease their concerns and be more open-minded to welcome international students.

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