In nearly two decades, the number of internationally mobile students has more than doubled as higher education becomes increasingly competitive. In that time, the economic contributions of international students steadily increased, creating a significant impact around the world.

The United States remains the top destination for international students, followed by the United Kingdom and then France.

United States
Though just over 5% of the student population at U.S. colleges and universities, international students contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. During the 2015–2016 academic year, the 1,043,839 international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $32.8 billion and supported more than 400,000 jobs.

There are now 85 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than were reported a decade ago. Over the past decade, the economic benefits of international student enrollment to the United States trend upward with increased revenue and jobs supported in the U.S. economy.

Open Doors reported that 313,415 American students received academic credit last year for study abroad in 2014/15, an increase of 2.9%.

United Kingdom
In 2014–15, on- and off-campus spending by international students and their visitors generated £25.8 billion in gross output for the UK economy. This activity contributed £13.8 billion gross value added (GVA) to UK GDP.

The facts show that international students are good for the British economy as a whole, being responsible for £10.8 billion of UK export earnings. International students also boost other British industries, for example adding £750 million to the UK transport industry and £690 million to the retail industry.

International students in France contribute €4.65 billion to the French economy every year. Travel and tourism-related expenses for visiting family members and friends of international students alone contribute €466.7 million per year to the French economy. The net economic benefit to France is approximately €1.7 billion.

Supporting international education is good for national economies. Like the United States, the United Kingdom and France, other nations with significant international student populations experience a similarly positive economic impact from internationally mobile students, with bolstered national earnings and increased jobs supported.


3 (NAFSA International Student Economic Value Tool) (Open Doors – 2016) (Canada)