A new study by US-based organization NAFSA: Association of International Educators suggests that while growth in the numbers of international students studying in the US continues, the satisfaction and retention of those students may be faltering. The study is considered one of the first to examine retention issues affecting international students across multiple institutions, with 500 educators and 500 students at more than 100 colleges participating. According to the researchers, educators and students differed in their opinions of why international students leave programs before completion. While educators felt that there was a combination of factors including finances, academics, English-language problems, and the desire to attend an institution that is a “better fit,” students said the issues were all financial (access to jobs or internships, affordability, and availability of scholarships). This suggests that “there may be a gap in understanding about what students want and what they’re getting.” Recommendations from the report include increased transparency regarding the costs of a program and the creation of internships and work placements.
TCS Insights: Educational institutions must have open lines of communication with international students to become more aware of the reasons why they decide not to complete their academic experience. Scholarships, internships and jobs must be accessible for students to encourage them that there is something available for them when their studies are finished.