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International students contributed more than $40 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2022-23 academic year.

New NAFSA data reveals international student economic contributions continue to rebound

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations | 405-744-5540 |

A recent study shows for every three international students, one U.S. job is created or supported.

At Oklahoma State University, 467 jobs were generated by the $48.2 million caused by international students attending OSU and living in Stillwater.

“Jobs are created in these communities because of the needs for housing, living and extracurricular activities, particularly when many of the graduate students come with spouses or families,” said Tina Newton, Office of International Students and Scholars interim director. “Many of the graduate students also work on campus in graduate assistantships, bringing their skills and knowledge to the university departments enabling OSU to excel in research.”

NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced new data in 2023 that show that the over one million international students at U.S. colleges and universities contributed more than $40 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2022-23 academic year.

“At Oklahoma State University, we have 1,574 international students,” Newton said. “In the graduate student population, approximately 27% of grad students are international. This percentage is higher in the STEM fields, with leading fields in computer information systems, engineering and agricultural economics.”

Working in those fields speaks to OSU’s land-grant mission as they are priority areas to the university. Newton said whether a graduate goes back to their home country or stays in the U.S. on a work permit, they are helping fill vital industries.

The price point is high, as Newton said undergraduate international students need to have $50,000 for one year for tuition and fees, books and supplies, living expenses and health insurance. Graduate students who aren’t on assistantships need to have $45,932 and grad students on assistantships — which pays for tuition — still need $23,126 per year.

Although the numbers are higher for international students, College Factual listed OSU as the 46th best value out of 1,204 universities in 2021 and despite international enrollment declining during COVID-19, it has bounced back to pre-pandemic numbers, Newton said.

Although the influx to the local economy that comes from having international students attend OSU is helpful, Newton said their educational and cultural contributions are much more important.

“International students are a vibrant part of the OSU and Stillwater communities bringing not only monetary infusion directly into university through higher tuition rates, housing and other needs for services, but also a cultural diversity that adds value to our Cowboy culture for all students,” Newton said.

Photo By: Gary Lawson  

Story By: Jordan Bishop | GLOBAL Magazine

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