Who Pays? Foreign Students Do Not Help with the Balance of Payments
By David North
June 2008

It has been argued for years that foreign students contribute to America’s balance of payments because of money they bring with them from abroad. A careful analysis shows that such arguments are false because of three fundamental flaws: 1. The calculations ignore the massive, partially hidden subsidies to higher education coming from American tax dollars and endowment funds; 2. The calculations supporting the balance-of-payments argument use highly questionable data-collection techniques; and 3. Other, stronger, studies show that foreign students make heavy use of U.S. funds to support their graduate educations.

“International students contributed $14.5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2006/2007.