Immigration of Indian and other Foreign Students to the United States: What they contribute to the US Economy

In a globalised world, university education in a developed foreign country is one of students’ most prior choices. We even see employers giving preference to people who have global experience, cross-cultural competence and language skills.

It is also seen that Indian students usually prefer countries such as the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Though we go abroad to receive a better quality education and further our career prospects, this migration of students contributes to the hosting countries’ immense economic advantage.

For instance, according to a report released by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE), Indian students contributed USD 7.6 billion to the US economy in the academic year 2019-20. This means that India became the second-largest source of international students with 1,93,124 even though there was a 4.4 percent drop in the total number of Indian students. China tops the list with 3,72,000 students, the number of Chinese students in the country increasing for the 16th consecutive year.

The IIE report says, ‘Open Door 2020’ for the fifth consecutive year, the United States hosted more than 1 million international students (1,075,496) in an academic year. About 62% of all international students receive their funds from personal and family sources and assistance from their home country governments or universities, i.e. outside of the United States.

The largest percentage increase was in the case of students from Bangladesh with 7%. Brazil with 4% and Nigeria with 3% followed Bangladesh. Students from Saudi Arabia have been dropped by 17% primarily due to changes in its government’s scholarship program.

Not just in colleges, but international students in the United States schools also often pay more to attend classes than local students, including tuition fees at publicly-funded state schools bringing in additional extra annual revenue. At present, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused uncertainties among students is likely to affect the education institutions in the US and the economy with a sharp decrease in the number of international students.

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