Ludmi Herath

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Steven LeMire


International students’ enrollment has continuously increased over the past decade. According to the Open Doors Annual Report, published and distributed by Institute for International Education (IIE, 2016), more than one million international students studied in the United States from 2015-2016; according to the same report, international students generated more than $36 billion to the United Stated (U.S.) economy making international students the fourth largest import sector to the U.S. economy. As U.S. institutions more aggressively recruit and retain international students, it is critical to learn how to serve this growing population—to learn of their needs and offer corresponding tools, programs and services. The purpose of this quantitative study is to identify international freshmen students’ satisfaction toward Campus Environment through the lens of the most widely used survey, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). This study also explores student satisfaction as related to institutional control (public and private).

In order to study international freshmen student satisfaction, the author used the 2015 NSSE survey data. The author compared international freshmen students to domestic freshmen students at public and private institutions to better understand the experiences of international freshmen students. Based on the self-reported 2015 NSSE survey there was a significant impact on quality of interactions among international freshmen students attending private institutions and domestic freshmen students attending private institutions, and a significant impact on academic success of international freshmen students attending private institutions than of the academic success of domestic students attending private and public institutions. Compared to quality of interactions and academic success, there was no significant difference on international freshman and domestic freshmen students’ use of supportive environments. Both international freshmen students and domestic freshmen students’ satisfaction with supportive environments was found to be the same, similar to the satisfaction with their entire educational experience at the same institution.

The significance of the study is in suggesting data-driven recommendations to administrators, policy makers, institutional decision makers, international student services professionals, and international students’ parents to understand the institutional campus environmental practices that are effective in promoting international students’ academic success and satisfaction during their stay in the United States.