Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



International student mobility (ISM) has transformed the tertiary education landscape (Knight, 2012). The number of degree-seeking internationally mobile students has more than doubled over the last 15 years, from two million students in 2000 to approximately four and half million students in 2015 (IIE, 2015; UNESCO, 2015a). The purpose of this study was to provide strong evidence on whether fractal inequality exists in ISM on multiple geographic scales. Utilizing global and national datasets, this study examines inequality in ISM flows globally, within regional networks, and in the United States following the 2008 financial crisis through social network analysis and SPSS regression. Additionally, student interviews provided data on how internationally mobile students conceive of race, racism, and diversity in the United States and how this has impacted their racial identity development. New findings to emerge from this work, include: evidence of inequality in ISM within regional tertiary education networks, the existence of a relationship between the growth in ISM to the United States following the 2008 financial crisis and the reduction in educational appropriations, indications that White international students engage in a similar racial identity development pattern to their international student of color counterparts, and the idea that through ISM negative narratives surrounding race and racism can infiltrate the international consciousness.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

William F. Tate

Committee Members

Rowhea Elmesky, Diana Hill Mitchell, James Wertsch, Lori S. White,


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