Southeast Missouri State University international students contribute $27.8 million to local economy

In its report on colleges across each Missouri congressional district, NAFSA found that the cumulative economic benefit from international students amounted to $58 million for District 8.

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International students at Southeast Missouri State University are emerging as a powerful economic force, contributing $27.8 million to the local economy, according to the latest report from NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

The findings underscore the significant financial impact of international student enrollment on the university’s surrounding community.

Contribution to local economy

In its report on colleges across each Missouri congressional district, NAFSA found that the cumulative economic benefit from international students amounted to $58 million for District 8. Southeast Missouri State University contributed $27.8 million to this overall total.

Executive Director of International Education and Services at Southeast, Kevin Timlin said, “Each of our 1,153 currently enrolled international students is infusing that much money directly into the local economy in the forms of tuition, housing, cell phones, restaurants, insurance, and groceries.”

Timlin added that, in addition to their economic impact, international students fulfill crucial roles on a college campus. He highlighted the university’s identity as an educational community where everyone holds the ability and responsibility to learn from one another.

Supporting numerous jobs

According to the report, international students at Southeast Missouri State University are contributing to the support of 127 jobs in the state.

On a broader scale, NAFSA notes that international students studying in the US contribute a substantial $40.1 billion to the US economy. NAFSA conducts an annual analysis, breaking down the economic benefits of international education state by state and congressional district.

Southeast Missouri State University is experiencing a record-breaking level of international enrollment, currently hosting 1,153 students from 65 countries. This diverse representation is seen as a valuable opportunity for the university community, as these international students bring global perspectives to the educational environment.

Timlin expressed “Travelling abroad is typically the best way for a person to gain that understanding, but not all people can travel. SEMO’s international students bring the world to our educational community so that everyone here has the opportunity to learn and create global bonds.”

Foreign students contributing to the US economy

According to a recent report by Forbes, American universities are experiencing a notable resurgence, with nearly one million students worldwide seeking education in the United States. This shift signals a promising economic recovery as the pandemic’s impact wanes.

The report highlights higher education as the ninth-largest export for the United States, emphasizing the influx of students from around the world as a pivotal factor.

During the 2021-22 academic year, China, India, and South Korea emerged as the top three source countries, contributing to a combined total of over 530,000 international students. The diverse student body represents 224 nations, territories, and islands, underscoring the global appeal and reach of American universities.

Experts report that their presence contributes billions to the economy, fostering the creation of more than 335,000 jobs.

Internationalization shifting higher education

Internationalization represents a major shift in higher education – a trend that universities cannot afford to ignore in a knowledge economy forecast to grow by US$1.1 trillion in 2026.

An entire ecosystem of value is changing as universities have been establishing strategic alliances with other institutions to offer students an international experience and place them on the forefront of advances in research and knowledge.

Meanwhile, students are looking for schools that take into account their academic and cultural interests and the trajectory of their own professional growth after graduation.

Gaining an international learning experience has the potential to change the lives of visiting students. Many of whom would not have had the opportunity to stand on par with global peers; contribute to their chosen field; and become productive members of society had they not been placed in the competitive landscape of a world-class university.

Financial unease among university students

About 60 percent of university students in the United States are experiencing financial unease due to the escalating cost of living, according to a recent survey conducted by Studocu, a global student platform for sharing study materials, as reported by Erudera.

Among the concerned students, 35 percent express frequent worries, while another 35 percent state that they are extremely worried.

In addition to financial distress, students’ mental health is being negatively impacted by inflation. The survey found that 55 percent of respondents felt their mental well-being had deteriorated as a result. The majority of those surveyed, 74 percent, reported feeling stress, 66 percent experienced anxiety, and 49 percent expressed frustration as their predominant emotions.

The impact of inflation on students’ daily lives and long-term prospects ranks among their primary concerns. A significant 71 percent fear that inflation will amplify their student debt, while 63 percent worry about its effect on the labor market and their post-graduation job opportunities.

In addition, the report revealed that 74 percent of respondents believe that inflation will have a negative impact on their future financial situation. Moreover, 71 percent expressed concerns about the potential increase in their study debt due to inflation, while 63 percent worry about the implications it may have on their job prospects after graduation.

Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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Nathan Yasis

Nathan Yasis

Nathan studied information technology and secondary education in college. He dabbled in and taught creative writing and research to high school students for three years before settling in as a digital journalist.

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