Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Higher Education

Committee Director

Christopher R. Glass

Committee Member

Anthony Perez

Committee Member

Cathy Wu

Committee Member

Melissa Whatley


International student enrollment (ISE) has become a hallmark of world-class higher education institutions (HEIs), particularly as global student mobility has grown exponentially worldwide in the last several decades. Although the United States (U.S.) has welcomed the largest numbers of international students since the 1950s, ISE shrunk by 10% in the previous three years from an all-time high of 903,127 students in 2016/2017 (IIE, 2019). A synthesis of research studies about international student mobility and enrollment highlights the significant role that academic and economic rationales play for international students who choose the United States. This quantitative, ex post facto study focused on how ranking, tuition, Optional Practical Training, Gross Domestic Product, and the unemployment rate connected to ISE at 2,884 U.S. HEIs from 2004 to 2019 through the examination of four research questions. Data were analyzed for two longitudinal research questions using time series regression, particularly an Arellano- Bond estimator for an autoregressive distributed lag model. Linear OLS regression was used for the remaining two research questions which analyzed the variables for the 2018/2019 academic year, including OPT. Data were also analyzed using Carnegie classification (CC) as a grouping variable to better understand how the predictors influenced different types of institutions.