Sources of financial stress and its impact on undergraduate international student experience and retention process
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This phenomenological study sought to explore how financial stress shaped the experiences and retention intentions of undergraduate international students in a large, public research university in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe financial stress and retention process as a lived experience of undergraduate international students. Seven international students were purposefully selected to participate in this study. A series of three separate in-depth interviews was conducted for each participant. I explored how they came to the United States, their adjustment experience, and their reflections on what being an international student meant to them. The findings offered participant profiles crafted from their life histories and a phenomenological analysis of their financial stress experiences. The essences of the experience of being international students involved facing financial burden, lack of knowledge of university billing system, lack of job and internship opportunity due to legal restrictions, and invisible pressure from families and friends in their home country. The findings of this study highlighted the necessity of reevaluating the limits and restriction that international students deal with every day for their college life and college finance, and rethinking how U.S. higher education institutions can assist and ease financial burden for them.
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