Ohio Initiative to Attract International Students Would Generate Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Economic Impact, Create Thousands of Jobs



Sarah Doolin, New American Economy, sarah@renewoureconomy.org

Increasing Share of International Students in Ohio Would Add As Much As $835 Million to State’s Economy, Support 11,500 Jobs

State of Ohio First to Launch International Student Attraction and Retention Effort Through Legislation

Columbus, OH – Today the New American Economy joined Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education John Carey, and other civic and business leaders from around the state to launch the Ohio Global Reach to Engage Academic Talent (G.R.E.A.T.) initiative. This launch is accompanied by the release of a study highlighting the long-term economic impact of state policies aimed at attracting and retaining international students in Ohio. The study, “Making the Grade: The Economic Impact of Attracting and Retaining International Students in Ohio,” finds that almost 11,500 jobs would be created in Ohio if the share of international students in Ohio’s universities grew from today’s four percent to eight percent.

“This new research confirms what we already know – international talent is critical to our nation’s growth and competitiveness in the global economy,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “Ohio’s leadership in passing legislation to better attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world should be a model for other states around the country.”

“I truly believe that smart and ambitious international students enrich our college campuses…and help strengthen our higher education system by introducing different cultures and customs,” said John R. Kasich, Governor of Ohio and 2016 presidential candidate in a video statement. “We are committed to working with the many exemplary colleges and universities, businesses, and communities in our state to create a great Ohio experience for international students.”

Making the Grade: The Economic Impact of Attracting and Retaining International Students in Ohio” draws on data from the U.S. Department of Education, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to find that:

Increasing the share of international students at universities in Ohio would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact and support thousands of new jobs.

  • Raising the number of international students by two percentage points (from today’s 4.1 percent to 6 percent) of all college students in Ohio would increase their economic contributions by $420 million and create 5,751 new jobs for Ohio workers.
  • If the international student population were to grow to make up 8 percent of all college students in the state, each year, the economic contribution of the group would grow by $835 million and 11,500 new jobs would be created.

Retaining international students in Ohio after graduation would create thousands of additional jobs, boost state GDP, and increase population growth.

  • If the state succeeded in retaining 50 percent of its international student population for four years, instead of the annual roughly 30 percent it retains now, the students would have a powerful impact on the state’s economy in the long term.
  • According to projected patterns, additional students would create as many as 8,864 new jobs within six years, increase GDP by as much as $1.4 billion over 30 years, and grow the state’s population by approximately 84,000 over 50 years.

Increasing the number of international students studying at Ohio universities is expected to benefit the overall academic environment and boost their global competitiveness.

  • If the number of international students increased by roughly 15,000 people (the 6 percent scenario) or 30,000 people (the 8 percent scenario), the number of patents awarded at universities statewide would grow by 28.3 and 56.9 percent, respectively.

While the study presents a powerful economic argument to bring international students to Ohio and keep them in the state as workers after graduation, many state policymakers are hampered in their efforts by the United States immigration system. If Congress were to fix the broken system, states like Ohio would face an easier road implementing and reaping the economic benefits of policies that attract and keep international students and graduates.

This study was produced for the Ohio Board of Regents. The full report can be found here.

Read a related three-page brief that looks at how Ohio’s policies of attracting and retaining international students could be applied to states across the country:

  • There are 20 states that experienced a decline in the number of individuals living in their state with at least a bachelor’s degree between 2009 and 2013.
  • Nine states in the country would have experienced a brain drain if they had not seen an influx of educated, foreign-born individuals in recent years.

Also, read Chancellor John Carey’s recommendations for Ohio’s Post Secondary Initiative.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…