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International Students and Scholars: Powerful Stimulus for NJ’s Economy

The Garden State Immigration Policy Institute, a joint project of the NJ Business Immigration Coalition and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, will be sponsoring a special program on May 11 entitled, “International Students and Scholars: Powerful Stimulus for a Dynamic Economy.” The virtual program will discuss the economic benefits of the international student presence in the U.S. and identify policy reforms that might restore U.S. leadership in this area.

More than one million international students attended American colleges and universities during the 2021-2022 academic year. Although this number may seem high, a decade-long trend of increasing enrollments came to an end in 2015, and the number of new enrollments fell each year for the following five years. The decline was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying immigration restrictions. Indeed, the U.S. share of the global market for international students is declining as countries like Canada, the UK and Australia have taken steps to attract more such students.

For example, Canada, whose population of international students grew by an astonishing 31% (from 617,000 to 807,750) from 2021 to 2022, largely because Canada created pathways for these students to remain in the country and contribute their skills to the overall economy.

Why is the international student population so vital to the economies of these countries? For one thing, these students often represent the best and the brightest of their native lands and bring an array of skills with them. They often choose to study in fields crucial to the future of the American economy. For example, nearly half of all graduates in STEM fields in the U.S. are international students (48% of Master’s degrees and 45% of PhDs). Many of these students have the potential to start new companies, create innovative new technologies, and boost U.S. global competitiveness. They also stabilize enrollment at U.S. colleges and Universities. There are almost 19,000 international students in New Jersey contributing over $700 million to the state economy and creating over 7,000 jobs.

Featured speakers at the May 11 program, to be held from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm ET, include Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy and Senior Contributor to Forbes Magazine, and Miriam Feldblum, director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a national coalition of more than 500 college and university presidents, including those of both Princeton and Rutgers in New Jersey, interested in advancing effective immigration policies. The program will also include a panel of officials from five New Jersey colleges and universities talking about their experience in working with international students and scholars. According to Nicholas Montalto, chair of the Steering Committee of the NJ Business Immigration Coalition, the purpose of the program is “to remind Americans that our ability to draw talent from around the world to our colleges and universities has been an extremely valuable feature of the American economy, and that public policy should work to strengthen this crucial source of enterprise and innovation.”

To register for the program, click here

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