International student enrollment around the country has helped shore up enrollment at many colleges and universities while pumping money into local economies.
Analysis shows that sponsored foreign students add more than $98 million to Idaho’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create as many as 1,565 jobs – 582 direct jobs in the education sector and 983 additional jobs across various industry sectors due to the indirect effect of inter-industry spending and the induced effect of household spending.
International student enrollment has been strongest at Idaho State University (ISU), but for a variety of reasons, that number may begin declining.
A March 2016 New York Times article reported tension building among some of the ISU international students, faculty and the community resulting in students leaving the area for other schools.
In addition, with the King Abdullah Scholarship Program for Saudi Arabian students announcing deep funding cuts, there is the sense that the state of Idaho could be dealing with significant financial losses in the foreseeable future.
How Many Foreign Students are in Idaho?
Open Doors Data, a database managed by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, keeps a yearly record of all foreign students in the United States. Their records show that in spring 2015, a total of 4,592 international students were enrolled in postsecondary institutions across the state. This has not always been the case. The foreign student enrollment in the state hovered around 2,000 for several years. Following a spike in enrollment in the 2011-2012 academic year, the growth rate has – to date – increased exponentially.