Research: ESL programs boost Calgary’s economy by $26M+ per year

How much money do ESL students bring into our city every year? That’s a question I asked myself a few years ago. I undertook an informal study to answer the question. I presented the results at an educational research forum at the University of Calgary. Then I dove right back into my PhD studies and examination preparations, leaving the study to gather dust.

I found the paper a little while ago and wanted to share it with you. I’ll be honest and say that the study was very informal, conducted out of a burning desire to have the research question answered, nothing more. I’d love to develop the work more fully at some point. If you know of others researching the economic impact of second and foreign language programs – particularly English as a Second Language, please leave a comment!

You can download the full paper from ERIC here:

Business with words: Language programs that generate revenue and impact communities


Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D. candidate
Presentation given at the Educational Research Forum
Faculty of Education, University of Calgary
July 18, 2006

This paper examines the examines the  “business” of language programs. In particular, it focuses on the economic impact of English as a Second language programs physically located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which draw and serve foreign students.  The impact such programs have on the wider community will also be explored. The results show that foreign students who study ESL in Calgary contribute a grand total of $26,250,000 to the city’s economy each year.

Read the whole paper (9 pages) on Scribd:

Business With Words

View this document on Scribd

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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