Publication Date

Summer 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Barbara Burch (Director), Aaron Hughey, Lester Archer, Jeremy Logsdon

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


NAFSA’s economic analysis indicates that international students and their families created or supported 340,000 jobs and contributed $26.8 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2013-2014 academic year (NAFSA, 2014). The analysis for reveals that for every seven international students enrolled, three U.S. jobs are created or supported by spending. These occur in the following sectors: higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications, and health insurance. By the 2017-2018 academic year, the US witnessed further significant contribution of international students to the US economy, contributing $39 billion from living expenses, tuition, and fees. Also, the contributions of international students created over 455,000 US jobs. Therefore, it is fundamental that the needs of these students are explored and strategic support structures put in place to meet these needs.

This study utilized a phenomenological analysis approach to gather data pertaining to the stated goals and research questions. The study also utilized purposive sampling to gather a list of graduate international students currently enrolled in the institution who were chosen based on the purpose of this study. To find additional participants, the snowballing sample was used. Eleven women and one man agreed to participate in the study. Finally, the semi-structured method of interviewing was employed in the study.

Overall, the participants of the study expressed their needs and equally gave recommendations of appropriate support structures toward meeting theses needs. Despite the challenges, graduate international students continue to persist and reach for their American dreams.


Education | Leadership Studies | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences