International students contribute millions to Hawaii’s economy
International students generated an estimated economic output of $497.5 million to Hawaii in 2017. Source: Shutterstock

International students have contributed significantly to Hawaii’s economy.

According to a report by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, international students generated an estimated economic output of US$497.5 million to the state in 2017.

“The 2017 direct spending of international students in the State of Hawaii was an estimated $241.5 million,” said the report. The amount includes tuition fees and living expenses.

International student spending has helped generate US$38.2 million in state taxes and US$219.8 million in household income, in addition to supporting 5,264 jobs. On average, both long-term and short-term international students spent US$18,697 annually, inclusive of living expenses and tuition fees.

Hawaii attracted 12,916 international students in 2017. Short-term students account for 56 percent of all international student numbers.

Japan remains the top country of origin for Hawaii’s international students, comprising 29.9 percent of the total, followed by Korea with 11.2 percent, China (including Hong Kong and Macao) with 6.4 percent, Switzerland with 6.2 percent, and the Philippines with 1.8 percent.

According to the report, “the majority of international students came to Hawaii to enrol in short-term academic programmes, English language programmes, or other academic exchange programmes at the undergraduate level or lower.”

Dennis Ling, Administrator of the Business Development & Support Division, which leads the programme for international student exchanges, told The PIE News that the overall number of international students studying in the US has declined, but Hawaii’s numbers are holding steady thanks to their continued marketing.

According to QS Top Universities, the University of Hawaii at Mānoa enjoys the strongest reputation among universities in Hawaii. It is the state’s sole entry in the QS World University Rankings 2018, ranking joint 341st in the world (66th in the US).

Hawaii serves as a unique destination for international students wishing to study in the US.

According to the Pew Research Center, Hawaii is among the top multiracial states in the country, noting that “Hawaii’s abundance of multiracial people with Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander heritage differs from the makeup of the nation’s overall multiracial population (including adults and children).”

According to National Geographic, it is the only state in the US entirely made up of islands and with two official languages – English and Hawaiian.

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