This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Institutional Factors Influencing International Student Graduation Rates and Debt




Liang, Gang

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


International students enrich the campus culture and help domestic students to grow cross-cultural competencies, and international students have also contributed a lot to the revenue of both the hosting institutions and the U.S. economy. Regretfully, there has been a dearth of studies on international students, particularly in the areas of international student graduation rates and international student loan debt. This study focused on exploring the relationship between the socio-cultural and structural institutional factors and international student graduation rates and loan debt. Data were extracted from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Included in the sample were 298 public-4-year higher learning institutions. The Stepwise procedures of Multiple Linear Regression analyses were conduction. It was found that the percentage of full-time students, Cost of Attendance (COA), the percentage of students receiving the Pell grants, the percentage of revenue invested in instruction and student services and the location of institutions were statistically related to the international student graduation rates. The percentage of full-time students, selectivity, the percentage of revenue invested in instruction and student services, the average tuition and fee difference between the low-income students and the average tuition and fees of all students, whether the institution being or not being a research institution, the location of the institution, and tuition dependence were statistically related to international student loan debts. The author has made some recommendations on improving international student graduation rates and reducing international student loan debt based on the findings.