International student enrolment at US public universities has increased as state funding has declined, according to a recent working paper that suggests how institutions have dealt with budget cuts.
The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, estimated that a 10 per cent reduction in state appropriations for universities between 1996 and 2012 was associated with a 12 per cent increase in international undergraduate enrolment at public research universities.
The figure for international enrolment jumps to 17 per cent when only the most “resource-intensive” public universities are taken into account.
The paper, “A passage to America: university funding and international students”, said that the figures show that a “significant set of public universities were able to take advantage of the expanding pool of potential students from abroad to provide a stream of tuition revenue that partially offsets declining state appropriations”.
“In the absence of the pool of foreign students, many universities would have faced larger cuts to expenditures and potentially greater increases in in-state tuition charges,” it added.