Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Education

Major

Education

First Advisor

Linda Hagedorn

Abstract

This study investigated why international students chose to enroll at small, rural community colleges in the state of Iowa. Specifically, how key factors (e.g., institutional characteristics, program characteristics, marketing and recruitment characteristics, and significant others’ input) contributed to an international student’s decision to enroll at a small, rural community college in the state. These factors were drawn from a combined model of college choice developed by Hossler and Gallagher (1987). This study serves as an addition to current literature, but it also serves as a tool that enables small, rural community colleges in Iowa to actively and more successfully recruit and enroll international students, furthering the internationalization of higher education across the state. Additionally, this study gives a voice to international students at small, rural institutions, and allows their stories and experiences to be shared.

This qualitative study adopted a phenomenological approach. In phenomenological research “the researcher identifies the essence of human experiences about a phenomenon as described by participants in a study” (Creswell, 2014). In this study the phenomenon was enrollment at small, rural community colleges in Iowa, and the participants in the study were international students. Semi-structured, one-on-one interviews were utilized in this study. A set of interview procedures were established for this study based on the results of a small survey (International Students Community College Choice Survey) administered to international students at small, rural community colleges in Iowa in March, 2016.

In addition to the rich, descriptive stories shared by the participants in this study, several themes emerged as a result of interviewing international students about their decision to enroll at a small, rural community college in Iowa. These themes include the desire to transfer to a four-year institution apprehension about adapting to the U.S. higher education system, use of an agent, and economic factors.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/etd-180810-5491

Copyright Owner

Sarah Ellen Adams

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

146 pages

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