Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Linda S. Hagedorn

Second Advisor

Sarah Rodriguez


Chinese students are currently the largest group of international students pursuing higher education in the U.S. The number of Chinese students has been steadily increasing in the last decade, but many researchers warn that international student mobility should not be taken for granted. Other countries such as the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia have established themselves as strong competitors in the unstable international higher education market. While many Russian students pursue higher education abroad, the number of Russian international students in U.S. higher education institutions is low. Given the multiple political, economical, and educational similarities between Russia and China, why is the discrepancy in the numbers of students from these countries coming to study in the U.S. so pronounced? How do Chinese and Russian students perceive the value of U.S. higher education while living in their native countries? How does perceived value affect their desire to study in the U.S.? Seeking answers to the above questions guided this study. The total sample of this study included 225 responses: 119 from Russia and 106 from China. This study used a multiple-choice and open-ended questions survey to seek answers to the questions related to the value of U.S. higher education in accordance to Expectancy-Value Theory. The answers to the survey were analyzed using the Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen (1985). The findings revealed a significant difference in the desire to study in the U.S. between Chinese and Russian students. According to the survey given the opportunity to study in the U.S., 87.9% of Chinese participants indicated that they would take advantage of the opportunity, while only 37% of Russian participants would have taken the opportunity. Moreover, according to the independent t-test, Chinese students place a significantly higher value on U.S. higher education in terms of enjoyment and interest (Intrinsic value) and prestige (Prestige value). Russian students have confirmed that the current political climate between the U.S. and Russia concerns the students and plays a major role in the students’ lack of desire not to study in the U.S. In general, Chinese students have shared positive perceptions about U.S. higher education while Russian students were less excited to study in the U.S. According to Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, if behavior is perceived as positive and beneficial a person or persons are more likely to engage in it. The study concludes that Chinese students see U.S. higher education as valuable, positive, and prestigious. The Chinese students wish to pursue their academic dreams on American soil. In contrast Russian students believe U.S. higher education is inferior to European education and offers very little benefits apart from mastering English skills and thus they do not want to enroll in U.S higher education colleges and universities.

Copyright Owner

Inna Kuznetsova



File Format


File Size

126 pages