Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump disagree on a lot, and one of the main areas, currently going unnoticed, is education reform.

While Clinton is advocating for free community college, Trump’s plans are less clear. But he recognizes, in very general terms, that the government can stop making a profit off of student loans.

Essentially, both of them are trying to allocate more funds to states for public education that will hopefully translate into lowering the rate of students loans and tuition bills in general. Nevertheless, both candidates ignore one of the largest contributors to university revenues — international students.

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International students have brought revenues to the U.S. economy at an ever-growing rate. For example, almost half the revenue Purdue University has raised from tuition since 2007 comes from international students, even though they make up only 10 percent of the student body.

This is by no means accusing higher education institutions of taking advantages of international students as cash cows. After all, recruiting more international students does appear to be a key opportunity to recuperate the stagnating U.S. economy. But the economy cannot count on “exporting education.”

One prospect of the this “international bubble” lies within the dynamics in the current political climate and the students’ incentives for studying abroad. Internationally, people consider the U.S. one of the most difficult countries to immigrate to. Because of that, a fair amount of international students seek employment opportunities in the states that will increase their likelihood of obtaining permanent residency.

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Another significance of the increasing proportion of international students has to do with the admission rate of the international students compared to domestic students. Some parents argue that the increasing proportion of international students in major universities has lowered the chance of admission for domestic students.

Their concern is certainly valid. Competitive institutions are probably more likely to accept an international students who is self-funded over a domestic student who requires financial aid, given that they have similar academic backgrounds.

International admissions will continue to play a significant role in the affordability and availability of universities and colleges here in the U.S. Therefore, the government should take actions that facilitates beneficiary relationship with international students rather than leaving everything to the market.

Grace Li ( is freshman majoring in biomedical engineering.