Viewing International Students as State Stimulus Potential: Current Perceptions and Future Possibilities

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-2011


In this difficult economic climate state policy makers are increasingly focused on higher education as an economic development tool. Many rust belt states are looking to transform themselves from a state dependent on manufacturing and agriculture to a more diverse knowledge based economy. Many nations use higher education as a catalyst for economic development but rarely has it been viewed as a more local state or province based initiative. Therefore, one often overlooked component of an integrated economic strategy is encouraging more international students to attend college in a particular state, as an economic development tool. International students not only add significantly to the local economy through direct expenditures, but enrich the experiences of domestic students. In addition, many international students remain in the community in which they were educated, adding a global dimension to existing firms, or in many cases, establishing a new entrepreneurial venture. As competition for students intensifies, and states look to find solutions to supplement their growing budget deficits, many more will be looking to promote their public universities to increase international student enrollment. Yet little is known about the perceptions of the two groups, international students and domestic students, who will be most directly impacted by the economic and public policy issues. Understanding the perceptions of international students is crucial to developing an effective marketing plan, while views of domestic students are also important as they shape the experiences of international students and influence public policy. The current study utilised a survey of more than 800 students to measure current students' perceptions in the following three areas: the state economy, impact of international students, and public policy and international students. Results suggest that domestic students are concerned about the state's economic future, have a positive perception of the economic benefits of international students, and support policies to increase international student enrollment. International students have more positive views of globalization and the positive economic impact of internationalization of education. In addition, international students have a positive perception of their experiences in the state, although many do not, at this time plan to stay in the state after graduation.

Publication Title

Journal of Marketing for Higher Education





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