Economic Impact

2018 International Student Fact Sheet

HONOLULU – The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report today which analyzes the impact of international students on Hawaii’s economy. 

DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division (READ) made the estimates and prepared the report, while the Business Development & Support Division (BDSD) led the state’s efforts for international student exchange. 

“The Economic Impact of International Students in Hawaii – 2018 Update,” shows the direct spending by foreign students in Hawaii was $241.5 million for the calendar year 2017. This estimate includes the total living expenses and institutional tuition and fees.

The Study Hawaii consortium of 31 schools in Hawaii is the association promoting the industry and actively recruiting international students.

A total of 34 Hawaii educational institutions responded to DBEDT’s 2018 International Education Survey. The responding institutions for the survey reported a total of 12,916 international students, including both long-term students and short-term students, such as those that came to attend English language training programs in calendar year 2017. 

Including the ripple effects, the total economic impacts of international students are as follows:

  • $497.5 million in economic output generated, including direct, indirect, and induced effects 
  • $38.2 million in state taxes generated
  • $219.8 million in household income generated
  • 5,264 jobs supported by international student spending

Hawaii hosted international students from all over the globe. Japan remains the top country of origin for Hawaii’s international students, followed by the Republic of Korea and China.

Nationwide, foreign student enrollment declined in the most recent survey.  Hawaii’s numbers, however, show an increase since the last report for 2016. View the report