Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Tara Shepperson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


This study investigates college choice factors that influence the decision-making of international students to attend a regional, rural university. Specifically, the study examines students' priorities within and among four categories of characteristics, namely, institutional characteristics, program characteristics, marketing and recruitment characteristics, and significant others characteristics. Various items within each characteristic category measure the significance of the pertaining characteristic. Data was collected through a quantitative survey administered to enrolled international students at Eastern Kentucky University. Descriptive statistics including frequencies, means, and standard deviations were utilized to analyze the data. Results indicate that program characteristics (most importantly the programs' reputation and the quality of contact with faculty) are the most influential factors in international students' college selection. Institutional characteristics (most importantly cost of attendance and admission standards) follow very closely. Ease and efficiency of the admission process and personal communication with university personnel are among the marketing and recruitment characteristic variables that have the most impact on students' college choice in this category. The influence of significant others was found to have the least effect on students' decision-making.