International students graduating from universities across the U.S. are more likely to return to their home country than stay in the U.S. due to fears about the slumping economy, according to a new study.
According to the study, many international students will be leaving the U.S. after graduation because they believe economic opportunities in their home countries are better.
In the study from the Kauffman Foundation and several universities, “Losing the World’s Best and Brightest: America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” survey respondents were those enrolled in or graduating from a U.S. institution of higher learning during the 2008 academic year. The organization studies the economic impact of entrepreneurship,.
The study shows 7 percent of Chinese students, 9 percent of European students and 25 percent of Indian students said they think the U.S. economy’s brightest moments are yet to come.
However, 74 percent of Chinese students and 86 percent of Indian students said their home countries’ economies’ brightest moments are yet to come.
Vivek Wadhwa, a co-author of the study and a senior research associate at Harvard Law School, said he believes the results of this study show a long-term disaster for the U.S.
“We have always attracted the world’s best and brightest and immigrants have fueled our economic growth and improved our global competitiveness,” Wadhwa said. “Now we are sending them away. Other countries will benefit from our loss.”
According to the study, 54.7 percent of Indian students, 34.6 percent of European students and 52.5 percent of Chinese students who wish to start their own business said they will probably do so in their home countries.
“Should their intentions turn into actions, the departure of these foreign nationals could represent a significant loss for U.S. science and engineering workforce, in which the immigrants have played increasingly larger roles over the past three decades,” the study said.
John Singleton, director of international student services, said TCU is estimated to have 60 to 70 international students graduating in the spring, but final numbers have not yet been released.
Singleton said he does not know how many of them are planning to stay in the U.S. or return home.
“Right now it is all speculation because we haven’t had the first graduation since the collapse of our economy,” Singleton said. “But there is thinking that more international students will go home because the economy is not as good and there may be fewer visas given.”
Martha Cornejo, a senior graphic design major from Peru, said she plans to return home after graduating in May.
“I am going home to work in an international advertising agency,” Cornejo said. “I am not sure how long I will stay in Peru, but I would like to spend at least a year with my parents before I move somewhere else.”
Marco Riquelme, a senior entrepreneurial management and finance major from Paraguay, said he plans to stay in the U.S. and work as the district manager for a company in Florida. He said he is staying in the U.S. because he feels he has a much bigger opportunity for growth.
“I find that the foundation of U.S. corporations is something lacking in Paraguay businesses, and something that I will be able to use as a competitive advantage once I go back,” Riquelme said.
R.J. Hesselberg, a senior communications studies major from Canada, said he hopes to stay in the U.S. when he graduates next December.
“If the economy gets worse and I couldn’t find a job here then I guess I would probably go home, but if I can find a job here then I am definitely going to stay in the U.S.,” Hesselberg said.