This research study stems from several reports indicating the increasing competitiveness of the world economy, the requirement of at least an associate degree in the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. labor market, and the unprecedented increase in the foreign-born population in the United States since the 1970s (U.S. Census Bureau Web, 2016; Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projection, 2009; President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), 2009). Understanding the challenges faced by foreign-born students at state colleges will create an avenue for recommending solutions to many these challenges, thereby increasing their educational attainment and economic productivity, hence preparing more Americans for the competitive 21st century global market. Using a qualitative phenomenological approach, the researcher explored, interpreted, and described challenges faced by foreign-born students (FBS) in a State college that could prevent/prolong their graduation. In addition, the researcher solicited recommendations for improvement in order to gather the necessary information to inform the creation of a comprehensive support center to address the challenges identified. Pilot study data were collected from two sources including focus group discussions and survey. The survey was administered to all students enrolled in college credit classes at the college and two focus group discussions were held in 2017 spring semester. The result of the survey provided the preliminary data on FBS and collected information from those interested in further research participation via focus group discussions. Data were analyzed using suggested methods of analysis by Moustakas (1994) and Creswell (2007). Using the College Impact Model and Socio-cultural theory as a framework, this pilot study found that foreign-born students experience social, academic, personal, organizational, and mentorship challenges. Based on participants' recommendations, the conclusion is for the college to provide more opportunities to engage with both faculty, staff, native students, and other FBS; provide proper advising; provide avenues for cultural engagement for all; provide financial advising; consolidate and publicize all resources available to support students at the college (such as information regarding the honors society, volunteer society…); offer formal and informal English classes to FBS; hire qualified staff with proper training to each department (for example, placement services, advisors…); and hire bi/tri- lingual staff. In phase II of this dissertation, an Academic and Social Engagement Center (ASEC) was created as a comprehensive support center for foreign-born students. It is the intent of the researcher that the findings from this study will inform and provide clear direction for programs and policy implementations that will enhance the success of foreign-born students at Victory State College.


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Graduation Date





Hopp, Carolyn


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction









Release Date

August 2017

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)