Drawing of students holding hands around a globe

International students in the University of Hawaiʻi 10-campus system contributed more than $82.2 million in direct spending to the state’s economy in 2019, that led to a total economic output of more than $173 million for Hawaiʻi. Those findings were in The Economic Impact of International Students in Hawaii – Calendar Year 2019 (PDF) released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

UH international students are responsible for about 45% of the $381.2 million dollars in direct and indirect spending by international students in Hawaiʻi in 2019.

“International students have positively contributed to Hawaiʻi and our economy for many years,” said DBEDT Director Mike McCartney. “They have helped to expand our marketing and promotion efforts to reinforce the message that Hawaiʻi is a place where the world comes to learn.”

The economic impact of international students goes well beyond paying for tuition and fees, according to the DBEDT report:

  • $381.2 million in economic output generated, including direct, indirect and induced effects;
  • $29.2 million in state taxes generated;
  • $168.4 million in household income generated; and
  • 3,756 jobs supported by international student spending.

“While the COVID pandemic has added a pause to travel to Hawaiʻi, we are confident that international students will continue to seek educational opportunities in the state in the near future,” said Dennis Ling, administrator of the Hawaiʻi Business Development and Support Division.

Hawaiʻi’s educational institutions hosted a diverse group of students from all over the globe. Japan remained the top country of origin for Hawaiʻi’s international students, comprising 31.6% of the total. Japan was followed by South Korea with 14.4%, Switzerland with 9.0%, China with 4.7% (including Hong Kong and Macao), and Germany with 2.9%.

For more, read the DBEDT news release.