bigstock-Close-up-of-male-hands-with-pe-46137757The next time you encounter a student in the United States from another country, say “thanks!” International students contributed $24 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2012-2013 academic year. A report published in November by the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) found that foreign students bring a lot more than a desire to learn when they enter the United States.

Spending by the 819,644 students bolsters an estimated 313,000 jobs in the United States, and the $24 billion spent in academic year 2012-2013 represented a 10 percent increase in spending over the previous academic year. Spending by foreign students and their families was highest in California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Pennsylvania. By their spending on education, housing, food, clothing, transportation, telecommunications, and insurance, international students and their families create an estimated three jobs for every seven students and families.

International enrollment is surging in the United States, and last year it increased by 7.2 percent over the 2011-2012 academic year. The direct, tangible economic benefits of having foreign students come to the U.S. are undeniable; $24 billion is hard to ignore. But the less apparent benefits are perhaps even more important than money; increased cross-cultural friendships and understanding, and maybe just a smaller step toward a more peaceful world.

Even for the most savvy scholars and scientists, immigrating to the United States is often tricky and always difficult. Foreign students should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to answer any questions or concerns regarding their immigration status and related matters. If you are accused of violating any immigration law or regulation, promptly contact an experienced immigration attorney to provide the legal representation you’ll need. A good immigration lawyer will also assist with visa applications and with any immigration-related interviews or hearings. Whatever your immigration-related legal concern may be, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced immigration attorney right away.