The United States is the leading destination country of foreign students. In 2013, students from China represent 29 percent of total number of international students in the United States. According to a study by the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, the 583,000 international students enrolled at US universities in the academic year 2006-2007, along with their dependents, spent nearly $14.5 billion on tuition, other fees, and living expenses (Bevis & Lucas). By any measure, international education makes a significant contribution to the US economy. By any measure, international education makes a significant contribution to the US economy.
Foreign students’ impact on the US economy continues after they graduate. International students who choose to stay in the United States after finishing their degrees become valuable assets—a “stock of intellectual capital”—for their American employers (Bevis and Lucas 2007). Johnson (2001) reported:
Chinese graduate students who earned a Science and Engineering doctorate (21,600) in the United States between 1986 and 1998 conducted basic and applied research in U.S. universities and helped teach students in science, mathematics, and engineering. After earning their degrees, Chinese post-doctorates have contributed to research at U.S. universities and elsewhere. Chinese-born scientists and engineers are part of the U.S. technical labor force, particularly in business and industry. (p. 3-4)
While there has been national-level interest in and recognition of the importance of international students to the United States, national policy efforts have never had a great influence on the practices of individual institutions. Although American universities have kept their doors open and encouraged Chinese students to come, not all educational institutions are prepared to satisfy the special needs of these students. There is still much room for improvement of the services and programs for Chinese students. Based on this study, the following suggestions are recommended for American universities.