As is the case in many U.S. universities, especially at the graduate level, a significant number of the students are from foreign countries. The amount paid by these students or their governments is a very significant amount, as discussed in this article in Forbes "Stop Wasting Foreign Aid: Let's Import Millions Of New College Students Instead", by my friend Iqbal Quadir--founder and director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT.
Some eye opening facts about higher education:
- Higher education in the U.S. has annual revenues of $400 billion
- 700,000 foreign students attend U.S. universities
- Foreign students pay $21 billion annually in tuition and living expenses
- If foreign students increased from the current 3.5% to 15% of total students, the economic benefit would reach $100 billion annually and foreign students would total 3 million
Expanding the number of foreign students, Iqbal argues, would have three benefits beyond increased revenue:
- "Expertise and resource development in educational institutions;
- Enrichment of the knowledge ecology from foreign graduates who remain in the US; and
- Connections between this augmented American knowledge base and foreign graduates who return to their countries"
I like the idea of expanding the number of foreign students in U.S. universities. It might facilitate greater understanding between countries and would be a significant economic benefit.