Working Paper: Foreign Student Demand

Full Title: College in the States: Foreign Student Demand and Higher Education Supply in the U.S.

Full Abstract: The U.S. is increasingly a destination for college students from abroad.  While it is well-known that the representation of foreign doctorate students at U.S. universities, particularly in science and engineering fields, has increased dramatically over the last three decades, the growth in the participation of undergraduate students is less well-understood.  In this paper, we trace out the notable increase in enrollment from abroad, largely as full-pay students, at colleges and universities.  Countries in which incomes have expanded rapidly in recent decades have demonstrated the most appreciable growth in undergraduate enrollment at U.S. universities.  We model variation over time in the foreign undergraduate enrollment in the U.S. in terms of costs, home country opportunities, and incomes.  Our results show that increasing per capita GDP or strengthening of the home-country currency leads to substantial increases in flows to U.S. higher education at the undergraduate level.

EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series No. 23. April 2014.