WASHINGTON – During the 2011–2012 academic year, international students and their families contributed $191.2 million to the Rhode Island economy, according to a report released Monday by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
NAFSA, formerly the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, releases the “The Economic Benefits of International Education to the United States: A Statistical Analysis” report each November.
In Rhode Island, foreign students contributed $141.7 million in tuition and fees to the state economy and $99.9 million in living expenses. The NAFSA report subtracted $52.9 million for the 21.9 percent from United States government support, but added $2.5 million for the living expenses of dependents.
There were 5,054 international students studying in the Ocean State during the 2011–2012 academic year.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, Rhode Island’s 4,911 international students contributed $174.8 million to the state’s economy.
Johnson and Wales University had the largest number of foreign students during the 2011-2012 school year, with 2,093 students out of a total of 10,848 undergraduate and other students. Those students contributed $64.5 million to the state’s economy during that period.
Brown University had the second largest number of foreign students during the most recent academic year, with 1,446 international students out of 8,454 total students. They contributed $59.5 million to the state’s economy during the academic year.
Of the state’s four-year colleges, Rhode Island College, Salve Regina University and Providence College accepted the fewest international students during the 2011-2012 academic year, with 30, 35 and 66 students, respectively.
In Bristol County, Mass., the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth drew in the most foreign students at 338, contributing $8.7 million to the state economy during the academic year. Wheaton College attracted 100 international students, generating roughly $4 million to the state’s economy, and Stonehill College had 15 international students who contributed $753,800 to the Bay State economy during the 2011-2012 academic year.
The NAFSA report defined economic impact as the amount of money foreign students collectively bring into the United States to pay for their education and to support themselves while they are here. Data came from the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2012 report and the Wintergreen Orchard House.
In the U.S. as a whole, the report estimates that international students and their dependents contributed roughly $21.8 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2011-2012 academic year.
“International students bring important economic benefits to the United States. They bring incalculable academic value to U.S. colleges and universities and cultural value to local communities as international enrollments grow,” NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson said in prepared remarks. “However, there is much more we can do as a nation to promote student exchange and study abroad, and this data clearly points to the potential future benefit of a cohesive and proactive international education strategy for our nation.”