Variables Affecting the Retention Intentions of Students in Higher Education Institutions

A Comparison Between International and Domestic Students




higher education, international students, retention


The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between domestic and international students with regards to the variables affecting students’ retention intentions. Altogether, 15 variables related to retention intentions were examined and significant differences were found in six of these variables. Variables related to personal issues (e.g., medical or family difficulties) were of equal importance to both groups, while the importance of institution and performance-centric variables differed between the groups. Social integration, ineffective study skills, difficulty adjusting to college life, poor extracurricular activities, and poor housing arrangements were perceived to be significantly more important by international students, while poor quality of instruction was perceived to be significantly more important by domestic students. Thus, international and domestic students require different retention strategies on the part of the institution.

Author Biographies

Matti J. Haverila, Thompson Rivers University, Canada

MATTI J. HAVERILA, PhD, is a professor of Marketing at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. His research interests are in mobile communications, the marketing, research, and design of technology intensive products, brand communities, and customer satisfaction, loyalty and defection.

Kai Haverila, Concordia University, Canada

KAI HAVERILA is a PhD student at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. His research interests are in the mobile communications, customer satisfaction, loyalty, and defection and brand communities.

Caitlin McLaughlin, Thompson Rivers University, Canada

CAITLIN MCLAUGHLIN, PhD, is a marketing instructor in the School of Business and Economics at Thompson Rivers University with a PhD in Media & Information Studies, Advertising from Michigan State University. Her research is largely focused upon brand communities and how businesses can use them to their greatest advantage. In addition, she has conducted research in the areas of word-of-mouth, homophily, and parasocial phenomena.


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How to Cite

Haverila, M., Haverila, K., & McLaughlin, C. (2020). Variables Affecting the Retention Intentions of Students in Higher Education Institutions: A Comparison Between International and Domestic Students. Journal of International Students, 10(2), 358–382.



Research Articles (English)