International Student-Athletes' Retention At An Ncaa Division I Insitution
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
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Athletic programs at higher education institutions have been scrutinized due to the low retention and graduation rates of their student-athletes. However, despite numerous obstacles encountered by international student-athletes (e.g. acculturation, social integration, language barriers, and the added stressors of being both a student and an athlete), this student-athlete subgroup at NCAA Division I institutions has continuously achieved graduation rates higher than the average graduation rate of all Division I student-athletes. This study explored the factors that contribute to the retention of four international student-athletes at an NCAA Division I institution. Narrative inquiry was used to answer the research question: What personal and institutional factors contribute to the retention of international student-athletes at an NCAA Division I institution? The study was framed by two theoretical frameworks, Bean and Eaton's (2000) psychological model of student retention and Bronfenbrenner's (1993) ecology model. The findings of this study indicate that high self-efficacy, internal locus of control, self-discipline, motivation, and determination contributed to the international student-athletes' retention at an NCAA Division I institution. In addition, the support the students received from parents, faculty, coaches, and peers were also significant to their retention. The knowledge gained from this study can aid university officials in providing better student-athlete support services in an attempt to ultimately improve their retention and graduation rates. Additionally, this study can aid in better understanding what contributes to the retention and graduation of the international student-athlete population in order to improve the experiences of this group as their presence on US campuses continues to grow.