Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Factors Influencing the University Selection of International Students

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Factors Influencing the University Selection of International Students

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The number of international students pursuing secondary education at United States (U.S.) universities has been increasing over the past 25 years, and is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. However, these students have a plethora of choices among universities in the U.S. and foreign countries. Universities must distinguish themselves if they hope to obtain the most desirable students from around the world. Previous research by Agarwal and Winkler (1985), Lee and Tan (1984), Mazzarol and Soutar (2002), and McMahon (1992) has identified a number of factors that influence the choice of educational programs. This paper builds on existing research by re-examining some of those factors combined with additional factors and by examining the role of accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Specifically, we examine whether students know the meaning of AACSB accreditation, as defined by the AACSB, and the relative importance of AACSB accreditation on the university choice of international students pursuing business degrees in a cross-section of public universities in the southeastern region of the U.S. Our study found that opportunities for post-graduate employment, availability of financial aid, institutional reputation, accessibility of information on the institution and AACSB accreditation of the institution were the most important factors for international students in the choice of educational institution. However, further investigation shows that international students may not fully understand the meaning of accreditation by The AACSB.

Keywords: Accreditation, Business Education, International Students

INTRODUCTION

The number of international students pursuing secondary education at United States (U.S.) universities has been increasing over the past 25 years, and is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. However, these students have a plethora of choices among universities in the U.S. and foreign countries. Universities must distinguish themselves if they hope to obtain the most desirable students from around the world. An investigation of the factors that are most important in university choice is an important step in allocating resources to attract the most desirable international students. Our study found that opportunities for post-graduate employment, availability of financial aid, reputation of the institution, accessibility of information on the institution and AACSB accreditation of the institution were the most important factors for international students. However, further investigation shows that international students may not fully understand the meaning of accreditation by AACSB.

There were 565,039 international students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions in 2004-2005 (eduPASS). These students represent more than two hundred countries and were equally divided between those pursuing undergraduate degrees and those seeking graduate/professional degrees (edupass.org). Florida (2005, 99) provides an overview of the impact of foreign scholars on the economy of the U.S.

i. Foreign-born scientists and engineers made up nearly a quarter of the science and engineering workforce (22 percent) in 2000, up from 14 percent in 1990. Foreignborn engineers make up about 40 percent of all U. S. engineering professors.

ii. Between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of international students among all bachelor' s-degree holders in the U.S. increased from 1 1 to 1 7 percent; the percentage with a master's degree from 19 to 29 percent; and PhDs from 24 to 38 percent.

iii. By the early 2000s, nearly a third of all graduate students in science and engineering were from outside the United States, including more than half of all PhDs in engineering, computer science, life sciences, and the physical sciences.

The continued growth of international scholars as consumers of U.S. higher education programs highlights the need to better understand this phenomenon. …

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