Enrollment in American higher education is expected to hit record highs this fall. One driving factor will be the influx of foreign students seeking diplomas from U.S. schools. Question: What will happen when they leave after graduation? Answer: Brain Drain.
Foreign student enrollment has been steadily increasing this decade since 2005. At last count there were over 600 thousand foreign students in colleges and universities in the U.S. Favorable exchange rates attributed to the faltering U.S. dollar which continues to lose value against other currencies around the world and enhanced recruitment strategies abroad are the driving factors. Short-term, the increase in foreign students bodes well for our economy. Campuses that meet their enrollment quotas provide employment not only for academics, but for all those involved in the auxiliary services to keep the campus operating – administrative and maintenance staff, foodservice and let’s not forget parking. In addition, the entry of foreigner money will boost the local communities where campuses are situated. Foreign students will buy their laptops, printers, iPods, digital cameras, even their clothes when they arrive in the States.
Conversely this trend will negatively impact our economy long-term. Why? Colleges and universities are the primary breeding ground for innovation. Innovation is the engine that will drive the Global economy in the next decade. Once foreign students receive their diplomas and their visas expire, the “Best & Brightest” from overseas will return home to become Global leaders in business, technology, medicine, etc. Does this spell brain drain for the United States?
Today’s blog entry is my final post in my summer series – What’s Next U.S.A.? Five blogs in total: Vanishing Vacations, Man’s Best Friend, Pet U.S.A., Vampires and Brain Drain. Five trends that will shape (impact) our country’s next decade.