Arizona State University and the University of Arizona are popular universities for college bound students from across the country. But increasing, Arizona lures thousands of foreign students to study in the United States in pursuit of higher education. According to a new Brookings Institution report on the geography of foreign students in U.S. higher education, these foreign students on F-1 visas bring millions of dollars in spending in tuition and living expenses to Arizona.
All these students bring with them millions of dollars in spending for tuition and living expenses. According to the report, foreign students in Tucson paid over $100 million in tuition, and $60 million more in living expenses. The Phoenix area received nearly $350 million in spending over the five-year period.
Between 2008 and 2012, approximately 9,700 foreign students under the F-1 student visa studied in the Phoenix area. Most students attended Arizona State University, with others including Grand Canyon University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Undergraduate and graduates students under the F-1 visa are required to maintain full-time student status. The F-1 visa program is aimed at providing foreign students with the opportunity to study in the U.S., with possible opportunity to work afterwards. Since 2001, the F-1 program has grown from 110,000 students to 524,000 foreign students in 2012.
The majority of foreign students come to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), or business, management and marketing. In Phoenix, 60 percent of students came for advanced degrees, with many of those students in pursuit of degrees in the STEM subjects. Upon graduation, about 40 percent of the foreign students studying in Phoenix remained in the area to work, matching the national trend of the number of students extending their visas work work in the same area as they studied.
According to the study, over the same five year period nearly 4,500 foreign students attended college in Tucson, the majority of these students attending the University of Arizona. The greatest number of these students came from China, making up over 40 percent of the total number of foreign students. While the STEM subjects are typically the most popular fields of study for foreign students, at the University of Arizona, about a quarter of the students opted for business majors. Study author, Neil Ruiz said the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management helps promote the pursuit of business studies for foreign students.
New programs aimed at students from Mexico will be bringing additional students to the area. Pima Community College (PCC) is one of a handful of community colleges nationwide which are part of the 100,000 Strong Program, working with organizations on both sides of the border to bring students for study in the STEM fields. About 200 Mexican students spent part of their summer studying at the University of Arizona, and more will be taking classes at Pima Community College (PCC). Students from Mexico make up the fourth largest group of international students, after China, India and South Korea.