Flying the nest to go to university does not always mean relocating to the nearest educational establishment. An increasing number of people now choose to expand their horizons in a more literal sense, and explore their options for international study. It is therefore an unsurprising and well-known fact that the tuition international students pay to study in America, provide the U.S. with considerable revenue.

What is the Cost of Education Around the World

Despite all its flaws, the American education system has consistently attracted many international students, who are very happy to study in the land of the free. Many of America’s international students remain in the US after they complete their study programs, and seek to gain employment in their respective disciplines, which is a fact that further aids U.S. economy.

International Students’ Economic Contribution

Cost of Education Around the World

International students have a major positive economic impact. In 2016, international students contributed a whopping $39 billion dollars to the economy, according to the Department of Commerce.

Furthermore, an additional 450,000 job were created and supported by international students who chose to remain in the U.S. after completing their studies. In fact, the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) has developed a Value Tool, which holds data about international students and their economic contributions to U.S. economy.

For instance, 118,424 international students have chosen the State of New York as their ideal destination for their university education. Those students alone contributed $4.6 billion to the economy, and they supported 55,851 jobs.

International students are also more likely to continue their education after the attainment of their Bachelor's degrees, until they achieve their PhD. This means that they can remain in the country for several years, and since most of them have funding from foreign sponsors, the revenue they bring to small towns and cities where universities operate is invaluable.

Funding for International Students

There are many misconceptions about the source of funding for international students, with many U.S. citizens falsely believing that the U.S. government is providing large amounts of funding for international students, though this could not be further from the truth.

The main amount of funding for international students is based on foreign private sponsors providing the funds, followed by university scholarships and foreign government scholarships.

This means that international students do not only contribute to the U.S. economy, but they are also a potential investment for the U.S. in the aid of prosperity.

Similar Picture for the Rest of the World

Education Around the World

United Kingdom

A similar picture is observed elsewhere in the world. Foreign students seem to provide significant revenue and enhance the economy of the country they are studying in. The U.S. might be the preferred destination for international students, but the UK is a close second. This leaves the UK with an average of £10.8 million contributed by international students.

The difference is that 97.4% of all international students leave the United Kingdom before their visa expires, whereas a larger amount of international students choose to remain in the U.S. as discussed earlier.


China is both a source and hub for international students, ranking third as the country of choice for the completion of higher education degrees, behind the United States and the United Kingdom. China hosts more international students than ever before, with an observed 35% increase in its international student numbers since 2012.

Over 50% of students choosing China as the country to complete a higher education degree in, come from neighboring countries, such as Thailand and South Korea. China is also one of the most popular destinations for African and French students.

With all the aforementioned said, if political activism is your preferred way of expressing yourself during your student years, it would probably be beneficial if you reconsider your options and avoid China as your destination of choice.

There are many restrictions that foreign students have to abide by, such as the ban of religious gatherings, and political protest. This means that even though China is currently still attracting many foreign students, we see a projected 40% decline of international students between 2010 and 2025.


Education the World

Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world and unlike many of the aforementioned countries, it educates its 340,000 international students for free, or for a very low fee. International students in Germany have one of the highest dropout rates, is home to many English-speaking higher education establishments, the largest proportion of them are still German-speaking, which is something that can pose significant difficulty to foreign students, causing them to drop out.

Germany is compensating for the above-mentioned large dropout rate, by investing in the language teaching sector, and by introducing more English-based services, in order to make studying in Germany even more appealing to foreign students.

Furthermore, a whopping 69% of international students studying in Germany, wish to remain and contribute to the German economy after the completion of their higher education studies, which is something the German government actively supports and encourages.


Russia might also be one of the most popular destinations for foreign students, but its popularity is increasing significantly due to a decade of growth, which saw student numbers reaching 300,000, with a projected 700,000 by 2025.

International students contributed an approximate $1.4 billion to the Russian economy over the last decade. This increase is partly due to the internationalization of Russian universities, which was promoted by Russia with governmental support.

A negative factor affecting international students who might wish to study in Russia, is the Russophobic message promote by the Russian government, preventing Russians from studying in countries considered Russophobic, and urging them to return to the motherland.

Much like the language problems Germany faces, the language barrier is one of the most significant negative factors for international students, thinking of studying in Russia. This is why Russia too is investing in preparatory language learning programs for all its prospective international students.


International Education

Recent technological advancements have made studying in a foreign higher education establishment possible, without actually having to relocate to said country. This is providing universities everywhere with extra revenue, without the stress of accommodating a higher number of students on campus.

Of course this has not happened without sacrifices, some of which include academics feeling used by their employers, as many of their deliveries are now recorded and submitted to overseas counterparts who use their lectures and profit for them, without the academics every reaping the benefits of that. It is a practice widely frowned-up in academia, and with good reason.