UW-L international students have $7.7 million impact locally

That’s the largest impact of western Wisconsin’s eight higher ed institutions.

International students attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2008-09 contributed just over $7.7 million to the local economy according to NAFSA:?The Association of International Educators. That’s the largest impact of any college in western Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.

The 362 international students enrolled in classes at UW-L during the last academic year contributed an estimated $7,717,500 in tuition, fees and living expenses. That’s the largest impact among western Wisconsin’s higher education institutions. UW-Stout in Menomonie was next at just over $4 million, followed by UW-Eau Claire at just under $3.2 million. Overall, international students at the eight colleges in the district had a $19 million impact.

Locally, when added to the estimated more than $900,000 spent by Viterbo University international students and the nearly $300,000 spent by those at Western Technical College, the total impact of foreign students at La Crosse’s three institutions of higher education is more than $9 million.

Jay Lokken, director of International Education at UW-L, expects the UW-L international students’ economic impact to continue to grow. For this academic year, 2009-10, more than 400 students are enrolled, with an economic impact expected at $9 million. International student enrollment is expected to grow to around 667 in 2012. “This clearly not only benefits La Crosse, but all of Wisconsin is benefiting from the economic and the cultural presence of these students on our campus and in the community,”?says Lokken.

It’s imperative in the new world economy for Wisconsin to establish itself as a leader in global education and economic development, notes Lokken. “Wisconsin students need to be globally educated citizens to be successful in today’s world and if Wisconsin wants to retain and attract new jobs, it will need to have a globally prepared workforce,” explains Lokken.?“With hundreds of international students and hundreds of UW-L students who have studied abroad, the UW-L campus has its own global community.”

That impact extends off campus. Hundreds of UW-L’s international students give presentations in local schools. And, UW-L partners with the La Crosse Public School District to run successful international programs in middle and elementary schools. “We don’t just impact the UW-L students, but the greater community in the La Crosse area as well,” says Gaelle Talhouarne, a junior from France and vice president of the UW-L?International Student Organization.

The figures released late last week by NAFSA are based on estimates from Wintergreen Orchard House and the Institute of International Education. NAFSA’s annual Economic Impact Statements estimate the amount of money foreign students bring to the U.S. to support their education. The report does not add a “multiplier effect” to the numbers, so the estimates are considered conservative.

Economic impact of international students in Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District

    School • # of Int’l Students • Estimated total impact

Chippewa Valley Technical College • * • $57,800
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire • 152 • $3,198,900
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse • 362 • $7,717,500
University of Wisconsin-Platteville • 58 • $1,238,400
University of Wisconsin-River Falls • 81 • $1,702,000
University of Wisconsin-Stout • 173 • $4,030,200
Viterbo University • 31 • $901,200
Western Technical College • 10 • $291,900

Total impact on Congressional District: $19,138,000
*?Fewer than 10 students
Source— NAFSA:?Association of International Educators

Find out more about UW-L International Education at Office of International Education.