Research in Higher Education

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 123-150

First online:

Why do All the Study Abroad Students Look Alike? Applying an Integrated Student Choice Model to Explore Differences in the Factors that Influence White and Minority Students’ Intent to Study Abroad

  • Mark H. SalisburyAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, The University of Iowa Email author 
  • , Michael B. PaulsenAffiliated withThe University of Iowa
  • , Ernest T. PascarellaAffiliated withThe University of Iowa

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Despite substantial efforts across postsecondary education to increase minority participation in study abroad, the homogeneity of study abroad participants remains largely unchanged (Dessoff in Int Educ 15(2):20–27, 2006; Shih in http://​diverseeducation​.​com/​article/​13193/​study-abroad-participation-up-except-among-minority-students.​html, 2009). This study applies an adaptation of an integrated student choice model (Perna in Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, 2006; Salisbury et al. in Research in Higher Education 50:119–143, 2009) to identify differences between white and minority (African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American) students across measures of human, financial, social, and cultural capital previously shown to influence aspirations to study abroad (Salisbury et al.). Analysis of data from 6,828 students at 53 institutions participating in the Wabash National Study on Liberal Arts Education suggests numerous differences between racial groups with considerable implications for institutions, scholars, and policymakers.


Study abroad Minority students Student choice construct