Impact of International Student Enrollment on US Gross Domestic Product

  • Dr. Abhijeet Bhattacharya
Keywords: Brain Drain, Economic Impact, Real Gross Domestic Product


The goal of this paper is to analyze the impact of international student enrollments on the US real gross domestic product. It is hypothesized that an increase in international student enrollment tends to have a positive impact on US real gross domestic product. It is also hypothesized that an increase in economic impact of international students has a positive impact on the US real gross domestic product. A regression model is formulated that consists of percentage increase in real gross domestic product (economic growth rate) as the dependent variable. The independent variables used in the regression model are annual percentage increase in international student enrollments in the US and the annual percentage increase in economic impact of the international students in the US. Data is collected from 2009 to 2015 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and NAFSA.  It is important to analyze the rationale as to why highly skilled immigration is vital for promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation in the US economy. The current administration is trying to undermine the positive impact of highly skilled immigration on the US economy. The issue is critically important in the prevailing political climate in the US economy. An attempt is also made to formulate strategies that would help in mitigating negative outcomes such as potential declines in revenues for US universities as well as decline in research and grant funding that would arise due to decrease in international student enrolments.


Download data is not yet available.


American Council on Education (2012). Mapping internationalization on U.S. campuses. Available at:

Chellaraj, G., Maskus, K., & Aaditya, M. (2008). The contribution of international students to U.S. innovation. Review of International Economics, 16(3), 444-462.

Daily, C., Farewell, S., & Guarav, K. (2010). Factors influencing the university selection of International students. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 14(3), 59-75.

Gower, J. (2011). As dumb as we wanna be: U.S. H-1B visa policy and the 'brain blocking' of Asian technology professionals. Rutgers Race and The Law Review, 12(2), 243-269.

Guruz, K. (2010). Higher education and international student mobility in the global knowledge economy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Heaton, Christopher & David Throsby. (1997). Benefit-cost analysis of foreign student flows from developing countries: The case of postgraduate education. Economics of Education Review, 17(2), 117-126.

Larson, E. (2011). International PhDs will drive innovation into the future. Research Technology Management, 54(3), 5-6.

Lowell, L. (2010). A long view of America’s immigration policy and the supply of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States. American Behavioral Scientist, 53(7), 1029-1044.

Luo, J. & Jamieson-Drake, D. (2013). Examining the educational benefits of interacting with International students. Journal of International Students, 3(2), 85-101.

Matloff, N. (2013, Feb 28). Are foreign students the best and brightest? Economic Policy Institute. Available at:

Mamiseishvili, K. (2012). International student persistence in U.S. postsecondary institutions. Higher Education, 64(1), 1-17.

McMurtrie, B. (2011). International enrollments at U.S. colleges grow but still rely on China. Chronicle of Higher Education, 58(13), 12-16.

NAFSA: The Association of International Educators. (2012). The economic benefits of international students to the U.S. economy, academic year 2011-2012. Available at:

Open Doors Factsheet. (2016). Educational exchange data. Institute of International Education. Available at:

Open Doors Data. (2012). Special reports: Economic impact of international students. Institute of International Education. Available at:

Tas, M. (2013). Best practices in hosting international students in the U.S. Cross –Cultural Communication, 9(2), 14-17.

Todd, T., Stinson, T., & SivaKumaran, T. (2011). Strategies for improving academic performance by non-native English speakers in graduate programs. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 8(12), 1-2.

Winkler, D.R. (1984). The costs and benefits of foreign students in US higher education. Journal of Public Policy, 4(2), 115-138.

Ziguras, C. & Law, S.F. (2006). Recruiting international students as skilled immigrants. Globalization, Societies, and Education, 4(1), 59-76.

How to Cite
Dr. Abhijeet Bhattacharya. (2020). Impact of International Student Enrollment on US Gross Domestic Product. International Journal of Engineering and Management Research, 10(3), 1-6.