Foreign students translate into big business for Florida
Foreign students have the potential to transform Florida’s economy. The Brookings Institute used a new database to examine student visa approvals from 2001-12 and, by examining foreign students in 118 U.S. metropolitan areas, conducted the first-ever metro-level analysis of these students in American colleges and universities. In a recently released 52-page study, Brookings found that most foreign students come from large, fast-growing cities in emerging markets and that these students create new economic opportunities for the cities where they study and live.
“Foreign students are a significant source of earnings for U.S. metro economies in several ways,” says Neil Ruiz, author of the report. “First they open up markets in their home cities which facilitates trade, foreign direct investment and knowledge transfer …. Our business and community leaders need to develop better strategies that retain their talents after they graduate.”
The countries that sent the most students between 2008 and 2012 are China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Seoul topped the list with the most students, more than 56,000, or 5 percent of the total. Rounding out the top five international cities are: Beijing, Shanghai, Hyderabad, India, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are the most popular with 37 percent of all F-1 students. Hyderabad is the top source of STEM foreign students. Palm Bay (Florida Tech) was a highly ranked metro area for STEM.
Forty-five percent of foreign-student graduates extend their visas to work in the same metropolitan area as their college/university. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area ranks fourth nationally for retention of foreign students. Tampa was 20th and Orlando 21st in retention.
In Florida, foreign students spent $538.7 million on living expenses and $907 million on tuition between 2008 and 2012. Nationwide, they contributed $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in other spending.
Orlando tech firm NanoPhotonica this summer signed a research and development agreement with Tokyo-based Japan Display Inc., a consortium of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi. The company’s S-QLED display technology (phones and TVs), using its own unique nanoparticle material, will help simplify the manufacturing process. Developed at the University of Florida, Dr. Paul Holloway is the chief scientist behind the patented material. A former tenant of the Florida Innovation Hub at UF, NanoPhotonica is the recipient of many awards and much recognition. This homegrown Florida company hopes manufacturers in Asia will see their light.
Foreign buyers are helping to heat up Florida’s housing recovery. Florida claims a 23-percent share of all foreign purchases. Nearly 60 percent of reported international transactions were all cash. This is according to the National Association of Realtors 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. And according to Bloomberg News, home prices in South Florida have risen 14 percent. French and Canadian buyers led the pack this spring, based on a report from the Miami Association of Realtors. Latin American investors are also snapping up commercial properties in South Florida, particularly in the office market.
The Export-Import Bank charter may be allowed to expire on Sept. 30, and a South Florida congressman believes that would be bad for the state. “In 2013, the bank supported an estimated $37.4 billion in export sales – including $7 billion in Florida – and helped sustain over 200,000 American jobs,” U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami, wrote in the Miami Herald. Despite the bankÕs low default rate, House conservatives are seeking to block charter renewal, saying the private sector should handle such financing.This summer Coral Gables-basedMasTec Inc. acquired Canadian Pacer Holdings Corp. and its affiliated operating companies (collectively
Pacer) for $126 million cash plus a five-year contingent earn-out. One of the largest infrastructure companies in the Canadian oil sands, Pacer has 1,600 employees and more than 2,000 pieces of owned equipment. Additionally, MasTec increased its senior secured credit facility to $1 billion.
Big Swedish meatballs in Miami. IKEA opened its largest store on the East Coast and the second-largest in the U.S. in late August near the Dolphin Mall. The Swedish retailerÕs first store in Miami-Dade County cost more than $100 million and features 416,000 square feet. The Swedish, U.S. and Florida flags were raised as part of the celebration. Founded 71 years ago in €lmhult, Sweden, the privately owned IKEA is the world’s largest home-furnishings retailer. Last year, it generated $36.9 billion in revenue globally, including $4.37 billion in the U.S.