Monday, November 17, 2014

Number of International Students in Western Pennsylvania Rises 17 percent During 2013-14 School Year - Twice National Rate of Growth, New Report Says

The number of international students in the Pittsburgh region rose 17 percent during the 2013-14 school year - more than twice the national rate for the second year in a row - to a total of 13,393 students, infusing a total of $386 million into the region's economy, according to a new joint report by the Washington, D.C-based Institute of International Education and NAFSA, an organization representing international educators.

Across the state of Pennsylvania,  a total of 41,446 international students - an increase of 11.2 percent - were responsible for $1.4 billion in economic stimulus, and for sustaining nearly 6,411 jobs in higher education and another 14,451 jobs indirectly related to higher education through their spending during the school year, NAFSA/IIE reported.

In total, international students brought $27 billion into the U.S. economy during the 2013-14 school year, with the number of students growing at an 8.1 percent rate nationally to a total of 886,052, the report said.

Economic impact includes tuition, housing, food, shopping and other expenditures for undergraduate and graduate students and their spouses and children, creating thousands of jobs in the region and making education one of the region's biggest exports.

"International students not only contribute economic value, they build bridges between the United States and other countries; bring global perspectives into U.S. classrooms and research labs; support U.S. innovation through science and engineering coursework, making it possible for U.S. colleges and universities to offer these courses to U.S. students; and support programming and services on campus for all students by paying out-of-state tuition, funded largely by non-U.S. sources," NAFSA said in issuing its report.

NAFSA reported the economic impact of international students by dividing data into U.S. Congressional Districts. The Western Pennsylvania region includes Congressional Districts 3, 9, 12, 14 and 18.

The new report confirms the importance - and the economic value - of attracting more international students to the Pittsburgh region, which is the goal of GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh initiative.

"This report confirms once again the importance of our efforts at GlobalPittsburgh to bring more international students to the Pittsburgh region, and then to engage them in activities and help them feel welcome so that they will have a positive experience," said Michael Malloy, GlobalPittsburgh Board Chair.

GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh Initiative, which represents a growing consortium of colleges, universities and English Language programs in the region called the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP).

GlobalPittsburgh augments the international recruiting efforts of local educational institutions by:
 Providing a conduit for prospective applicants to ensure delivery and full review of applications.
 Ensuring that applications are complete.
 Directing applicants to information about visa and documentation requirements.
 Providing welcoming activities and networking opportunities for students after they have enrolled.

The Study Pittsburgh initiative provides information and publicity materials to selected advising centers and counseling offices around the world using GlobalPittsburgh’s strong relationships with government agencies and diplomatic channels. These channels include:
 EducationUSA, a U.S. State Department program designed to attract international students to the United States through a network of more than 400 advising centers in 170 countries around the world providing information and assistance to prospective students.
 Trade offices of U.S. Commerce Department and Pennsylvania Department of Economic & Community Development, which are committed to increasing international student enrollment in the United States.
 Education agencies and recruiters in targeted countries around the world.
 U.S. Embassies & Consulates around the world.
 Foreign Embassies & Consulates in the United States.

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