Global economic growth feeds U.S. universities

bigstock-Img-5501689The rise of middle-class economies around the world directly corresponds with the uptick of international students in recent years. It’s a trend forecast to continue for the foreseeable future.

Credited by the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) with a $4 billion contribution to the state’s economy in the 2013-2014 academic year, California leads the nation in international student enrollment– claiming 122,000 of the nation’s estimated 886,000 foreign-born students.

NAFSA estimates the economic influx at $26 billion attributable to international student spending in sectors ranging from educational services (48 percent) to accommodation and food services (34 percent) and retail trade (10 percent.)

The growth in international students naturally corresponds to economies around the world stepping up to a higher economic threshold.  This new class is “pretty ambitious when it comes to young people,” Mariam Assefa, executive director of World Education Services, tells the San Diego Union Tribune.

According to the story, international student enrollment has skyrocketed at the University of San Diego, San Diego State University and UC San Diego in the past five years, California international student enrollment is up by 26 percent, compared a 22 percent growth rate for the country as a whole. In the 2013/2014 academic year, Texas hosted 64,000 international students while Massachusetts hosted 51,000.

Foreign nationals who study in the United States do so with a U.S. student visa, which provides the necessary documentation needed to live and study in the country. Students can begin this process after their acceptance into a school certified within the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP.) The Department of State (DOS) offers the EducationUSA website as a resource for educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, admissions, and more. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers the Study in the States school page to search for SEVP-certified schools. Acceptance into a SEVP-certified school gives students automatic enrollment into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

A student visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to foreign nationals who don’t intend to stay in the U.S. on a permanent basis, with plans to stay in the country for only as long as it takes to complete coursework.