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Argument: The benefits of foreign students outweigh the immediate costs to taxpayers

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Supporting quotes from the Economist Online Debate Series

  • Frances Cairncross. The Economist Debate Series. The Proposition’s Rebuttal. December 14th, 2007 - "But maybe, if taxpayers paused to think about their subsidy, they would see it differently. Suppose it were clear that foreign students produced a disproportionate share of America’s future entrepreneurs and innovators? Would taxpayers then think of their subsidy as a good investment in the America that their own children would one day inhabit? Because that is exactly what the subsidy represents. America’s richest universities (like Harvard) and generous taxpayers are buying up foreign talent and educating it, and future generations will be grateful."
  • joeswift, commenter. Economist Debate Series, Education 2. December 14, 2007 - "To begin, claiming that students from abroad cost the domestic taxpayer too much is rather like claiming that foreign workers steal jobs or that imports ruin native industry. As most foreign born university students remain and work after graduation, their lifelong contribution to the knowledge economy far outweighs any cost to the taxpayer."
  • Granito, commenter. Economist Online Debate Series. December 11, 2007 16:31 - "Although taxpayers support the universities, the cost of foreign students isn't negligible but it is not prohibitive, either. I can't say with certainty that they have a net positive effect on the immediate local economy, but I would be willing to bet that the trade and research gains will offset the costs of foreign students in the long run."
  • Amit Vagarali, commenter. Economist Online Debate Series. December 11, 2007 17:23 - "The benefits that the students offer to the country where they study are enormous, both economically, socially as well as culturally. Students who get educated in a foreign country tend to be in the upper rungs of the economic ladder, whether its their home country or their adopted country, and bring in additional revenue in terms of taxes to the communities that they live in."
  • Paul G, commenter. Economist Online Debate Series. December 11, 2007 15:04 - ..."I am struck by the very narrow and defensive nature of many of the CON arguments. Almost to say[...]'we don't trust our Govt to be able to work out how it is spending our money, or to be open about it, therefore let's forbid it to spend anything on foreign students'. These ar eterribly negative persepctives. I feel we should be holding ourselves and our Governments to higher standrads than that."...


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