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NAFSA Measures Economic Value of International Students

screenshot of Louisiana from NAFSA International Student Economic Value Tool

Last week, NAFSA--the Association of International Educators--updated its International Student Economic Value Tool, which shows the economic impact of international students on the communities where they study. The top line is that their presence at college and universities in the U.S. translated to $40.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 368,333 jobs during the 2022-2023 academic year. If that number of jobs were a city’s population, it would be the 56th largest city in America, bigger than Honolulu, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Newark.

Immigrants are casually and incorrectly portrayed as a burden on communities, but as studies consistently show, immigration is good business.

What does it mean in your community? The tool provides state-by-state and region-by-region breakdowns. We’re based in New Orleans, and the tool shows that the 6,626 international students in Louisiana account for 2,251 jobs and $246.7 million to the state’s economy.

Last year our district had 1,833 international students enrolled, which supported 1,079 jobs and produced a financial contribution of $102.3 million. The three top institutions in the city for international students are Tulane ($88.6 million supporting 957 jobs), Loyola ($10.5 million supporting 109 jobs) and Delgado Community College ($3.1 million supporting 13 jobs).

It’s maddening that the most effective case for the value of international students is an economic one, but these days we have to use the tools that work. You can access the International Student Economic Value Tool at NAFSA’s site and see on the surface level how they impact your community as well.

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