Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Claire Halverson


Introduction (excerpt):

Is there a universal model for international student programs? When an architect designs a building, she devises a plan that addresses the special needs and specifications of her client. If her client wants to build a restaurant, she will create a blueprint that has been ergonomically designed to meet specific needs. The blueprint for a coffee shop will be very different from that of a gourmet restaurant, and so on. Just as there is no such thing as a universal blueprint that can be used for all restaurants, neither is there a universal model that can be applied to all international student services programs.

Because every university has its own special set of needs and specifications, what works at one school may not work at another. There are thousands of universities throughout the United States, and each of these schools is unique and differs from others in size, student population, location, degree programs, reputation, type of school, housing and infrastructure. All of these differences must be taken into consideration when planning or designing any type of program or service for international students. As the needs of US students are different from those of international students, the needs of international students at commuter schools are different from those of international students on residential campuses. The programs and services provided to international students must reflect the campus environment.

The over-arching question addressed in this paper concerns how the commuter environment affects the types of services and programs needed for international students. In order to answer this question, the paper first examines how the commuter school environment is different from the traditional four-year university. It then surveys and evaluates the types of support programs that commuter schools are providing to international students. Lastly, the paper determines which programs are most successful in the commuter environment.


International and Comparative Education