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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Elizabeth Williams

Second Advisor

Ryan Wells

Third Advisor

Timothy Lang

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Higher Education Administration

Abstract

Study abroad is recognized as a valuable and increasingly essential aspect of higher education in America. Yet, for all the positive attention and high-profile initiatives aimed at expanding participation, the percentage of U.S. undergraduate who studies abroad remains small. Developing a better understanding of the factors that contribute to or hinder study abroad participation is critical to expanding participation. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine factors that influence participation among students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who have expressed formal intent to study abroad. Specifically, this dissertation investigates who is more likely to study abroad and who is less likely and why students who intend to study abroad do not. To answer these questions, this study employs both quantitative and qualitative research methods through convergent parallel design.

Together, the results of the binary logistic regression analysis and focus group interviews provide an abundance of information on the variety of factors that influence participation among students who intend to study abroad. Positive influential predictors include GPA, honors college membership, prior travel abroad 3 or more times and having studied a foreign language at the college level. Negative predictors are identifying an interest in study abroad from University outreach, being a transfer student, citing money as the biggest obstacle to study abroad, citing “other” as the biggest obstacle to study abroad, citing not being able to graduate on times as the biggest obstacle to study abroad and indicating at the time of completion of the study abroad profile that there is only some chance that they will study abroad. Focus group findings reveal that cost, academic barriers, and not wanting to miss out on time at the University deterred students who had expressed interest in study abroad from actually doing so.

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