Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Yaoying Xu

Second Advisor

Enoch Hale

Third Advisor

Robin Hurst

Fourth Advisor

Xun Liu

Fifth Advisor

Gabriel Reich


Postsecondary English language education is a growing industry in the United States. While there has been considerable research on international student mobility in higher education, there is limited research on the population’s participation in U.S. English language programs (ELPs). The purpose of the study was to apply existing theories and data analysis to understand postsecondary English language program participation and create a foundation for future studies. This exploratory study examined the characteristics of international students enrolled in U.S. postsecondary ELPs. The researcher investigated the relationship between ELP enrollment with U.S. higher education enrollment as well as the relationship between ELP enrollment by destination location, ELP provider type, gender and country of origin. Finally, the researcher analyzed the completion rate of international students in U.S. postsecondary ELPs by gender and country of origin. Data from 2004-2014 were collected from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System and the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report. Data analysis was conducted through quantitative methods. Findings of this study may help educators reflect on the form and function of current English language programs to improve the quality of future ELPs.


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