International Students Contribute More Than $205 Million Directly to Hawaii’s Economy

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 in News

For Immediate Release: April 7, 2015
DBEDT News Release 15-03

HONOLULU—The Research and Economic Analysis Division (READ) of the State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) today released an economic report analyzing, “The Economic Impact of International Students in Hawaii.”

The report shows that foreign students made a direct economic impact of $205.1 million to the State for the 2014-2015 school year. “This number highlights the importance of international education to our state,” stated DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “One challenge Hawaii faces is the increasing competition in international education among U.S. institutions. Hawaii’s share of international students decreased from 1.0 percent of the U.S. total in 2005 to a mere 0.5 percent in 2013.”

In addition to the $205.1 million in direct economic output, other economic benefits of international students include:

  • $443 million in total economic impact, including direct and indirect effects.
  • 4,922 jobs were supported by foreign student spending.
  • $185 million in household earnings was attributed to foreign students.
  • $29 million in state taxes was generated from the total economic output of foreign students.

The results are based on a survey of Hawaii institutions that participate in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS includes middle and high schools, professional institutions, colleges and universities. 79 Hawaii institutions are participating in the program. The survey was conducted by the Research and Economic Analysis Division and the Business Development and Support Division of DBEDT. Responses from 35 educational institutions were received, covering 10,104 foreign students studying in Hawaii during the 2014-15 academic year.

The economic impacts were calculated based on the responses without weighting to the total participating school population. The economic impact could be higher should all schools respond to the survey.

Of the total number of foreign students in Hawaii during the 2014-15 school year, Japan remains the top country of origin with 3,183 students, or about 31 percent of all foreign students. Japan was followed by South Korea with 941 students (9 percent); China with 815 students (8 percent) Switzerland with 580 (6 percent), and Taiwan with 356 students (4 percent).

It appears that Hawaii’s loss of share is partially rooted in the difficulty of attracting students from high-growth countries like China, but also including India and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Hawaii remains a preferred destination for Japanese students, but Japan’s share of foreign students is declining.

Download the full report. Acrobat file

# # #

For more information, contact:

DBEDT Research and Economic Analysis Division
Phone: (808) 586-2466