U.S. universities benefit academically and financially from increased enrollment by international students. With both domestic and international student new enrollment declining, it is imperative to retain all students. Research shows that as to domestic students, issues of social and academic integration and challenges in adjusting to university life (including the rigors of university level academics, social isolation, homesickness, financial hardships, family needs), play a role in the domestic student’s decision to remain in school or drop out. However, as to international students, who face many of the same challenges, as well as a number of unique challenges (i.e., cultural and language barriers, adapting to the U.S. classroom setting, interacting with university staff and faculty and creating a sustained social network), little research exists regarding the factors that foster international students to persist in the U.S. university. Likewise, a shortage of literature exploring the measures that can be taken to increase international student retention exists.
The paper explores the factors that motivate international students to persist and remain enrolled and proposes research to elicit both the factors spurring international students to persist, and their recommendations for university practices and policies that promote retention. The proposed study will employ quantitative research of 200 domestically enrolled students from foreign countries at two New York metropolitan area colleges. The research will provide data from which specific recommendations may be drawn, providing guidance to institutes of higher education as to how to maximize international student persistence and improve retention.
International Student; Academic Integration, Social Integration, Student Enrollment, Retention, Persistence