While higher education is often acknowledged as a driving force in poverty reduction, there has been a notable dearth of scholarly exploration into the influence of international higher education on poverty alleviation. In contrast to the predominant focus of international student mobility research on individual benefits and transformation, our study delves into the societal impact of foreign-educated graduates on poverty reduction in their home countries. Using multilevel random slope models, we conduct an analysis of a time-series cross-sectional dataset encompassing 111 countries from 2003 to 2018. Our findings reveal that foreign-educated graduates make a significant contribution to poverty alleviation, especially in the context of home countries characterized by low national income and a transition within their higher education systems from elite to mass participation. Additionally, we find that
the poverty context of host countries can be transmitted to home countries through these graduates. This study suggests that the role of international higher education in reducing poverty is contingent on the specific contexts of both home and host countries.
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