International students can make America first in #highered

The seven countries affected by the travel ban. Map via CNN.
The seven countries affected by the travel ban. Map via CNN.

Soon after President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday, Jan. 27, to restrict U.S. entry by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, college and university officials issued a flurry of statements in response. They ranged from generic and cautiously worded memos expressing support and guidance for students and scholars from the affected countries to stronger messages critical of the Trump administration’s ban. (Purdue President Mitch Daniels’ statement — which calls the executive order “a bad idea, poorly implemented” — was among the strongest and most straightforward I’ve seen, but I’m sure there are others.)

But even before these statements came forth in a flurry last weekend,’s Ryan Craig presented a strong case for why loosening rather than restricting immigration rules would help U.S. colleges and universities — and by extension, the nation as a whole.

In “Make America First in Higher Ed: Open the Door,” Craig lays out the argument for why international students can help strengthen the U.S. economy and create jobs for Americans. It fits right with Trump’s “America First” slogan.

Craig cites some important statistics. Among them:

  • That NAFSA: the Association of International Educators “estimates that three U.S. jobs are created or supported for every seven international students — a total of 340,000 jobs in 2013-14. These jobs aren’t only for overeducated academics, but in sectors such as transportation, accommodation, food service, telecommunications, health care and insurance.”
  • “In the 2015-16 academic year, international students contributed approximately $33 billion to the U.S. economy. So if the U.S. were to serve as many international students proportionally as Canada, we would add more than 400,000 jobs. Doing as well as the U.K. would add 1.2 million new jobs. Reaching Australian levels would add two million new jobs — greater potential than any of the other ‘export’ industries being talked about. And we’d do even better than that if we took full advantage of our reputation as the global higher education leader.”

Despite that reputation as “the global higher education leader,” the U.S. does not attract as many international students as other nations. And according to another recent news article, U.S. colleges and universities stand to lose $700 million in annual revenue if Trump’s temporary ban becomes permanent.

Opening our doors wider would better serve our nation, and the world.

I encourage you to read Craig’s article in its entirety.

Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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