This study examines factors that contribute to the cross-border movement of international students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It analyzes characteristics of host countries (pull factors) associated with international students' arrival for education in STEM fields, as well as characteristics of home countries (push factors) related to STEM student's departure for study abroad.The study applies trend analyses and random- and fixed-effects estimations to data from multiple national and international sources. The findings show that a) international STEM students are increasingly concentrated in countries where English is used for instruction and in countries with advanced technological capabilities; b) industrialized countries that have lower enrollments of their own students in STEM programs or aging populations tend to enroll more international STEM students; c) countries that are neither advanced nor substantially lagging in technological capability send more students abroad to pursue STEM education; and d) STEM students migrate more from countries that already have high emigration rates of highly educated citizens.The findings have implications for higher education policies and practices. Key issues include the following: technologically marginalized countries' low STEM enrollment, which may contribute to a widening disparity in technological capability between countries; the migration of STEM students, which suggests that countries should address possible negative effects of the loss of highly skilled citizens; and the increasing use of English as the language of science, which suggests a tendency toward more English-based instruction in non-English speaking countries.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2013. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Melissa S. Anderson. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 168 pages, appendices A-C.
International mobility of undergraduate and Graduate Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: push and pull factors.
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