Some are not wild about welcoming too many tourists to Hawaii.
And some are not keen on more Mainland transplants moving here.
But students who come to Hawaii are greeted with outstretched arms. That’s a good thing, because these students are having an impact on the Aloha State that is undeniably positive.
This much was made clear during Wednesday’s “Study Hawaii Day Celebrating Hawaii: the Best Classroom in the World!”
Hawaii cast a spotlight on the thousands of students from outside the United States who study at its universities, colleges, K-12 preparatory and English language schools.
This took place at the Hawaii State Capitol, 4th floor lanai, and was organized by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and the Study Hawaii Educational Consortium.
The event aimed to deepen appreciation for the strong and positive contributions these students make to the state’s culture and the impact they have on Hawaii’s economy, said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.
“International students studying in Hawaii are an economic driver that often goes unnoticed. It is a desirable industry — knowledge-based and innovative — that adds to the vibrancy and diversity of our community,” Salaveria said.
Educational institutions are not exactly at the top of everyone’s list when thinking about Hawaii. That list is surely topped by beaches, sunshine, surf and eating out. But Hawaii has outstanding colleges.
“Educational institutions in Hawaii have so much to offer in terms of our natural, cultural, and historical context,” says Joel Weaver, president, Study Hawaii. “Our organization has chosen to express this with the tagline, ‘Hawaii: the BEST Classroom in the World’ in recognition of the richness that our people and our location offer to students from around the world. No matter what level of education or what field of inquiry, we have world-class opportunities that can be found nowhere else!”
Statistics, in this case, tell the story.
According to DBEDT’s 2017 Hawaii International Education Survey, Hawaii hosted 10,800 international students at 27 institutions during the 2016-17 academic year, with a direct financial impact of $225.3 million including tuition and fees plus living expenses. In addition to the direct impact, other economic benefits of international students in Hawaii for the 2016-17 period included:
w $484 million added to the state’s total economic output, including direct, indirect, and induced effects.
w $32 million in state taxes generated from the total economic output.
w $192 million in household earnings attributed to international students.
w 5,093 jobs supported by international students’ spending.
w $24,139 overall average annual spending per international student.
The benefits of increasing the state’s international student population go well beyond the revenue generated, said Dennis Ling, administrator of DBEDT’s Business Development and Support Division.
“These students often become part of Hawaii’s workforce, contributing to the number of well-educated, highly skilled professionals available to employers and businesses,” he said. “They are an integral part of our state’s economy.”
While it’s clear that overcrowding is affecting Hawaii, we are learning that a rising number of students should be celebrated.