Understanding the Attraction of the Microcampus

A Quantitative Investigation of Students’ Motivations to Enroll in Transnational Education


  • Dr. Sowmya Ghosh University of Arizona
  • Jenny J. Lee University of Arizona
  • John P. Haupt University of Arizona




dual degree programs, international education, partnerships, soft power, transnational education


As collaborative transnational education models are increasing in number globally, this study provides a snapshot of motivations for newly enrolled students at microcampuses in China, Cambodia, Jordan, and Indonesia. This research centers on the influence of country choice for students. We apply Nye’s (1990, 2004) concept of soft power on student motivations and conduct quantitative analysis to trace enrollment influences. Mainly, in this case we find that U.S. soft power potentially influences students abroad to enroll in dual-degree programs. Other motivations related to cost and U.S. culture are apparent influences. Furthermore, findings provide greater insights into emerging trends in international student mobility. Our study also identifies strategies to sustain transnational education ventures in the face of challenges. Implications of this research are especially of use to university stakeholders, faculty leaders and policymakers who are working to advance U.S education on an international platform.


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Author Biographies

Dr. Sowmya Ghosh, University of Arizona

Sowmya Ghosh, Ph.D., is a researcher in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. Combining quantitative methodology and data science techniques, her research focuses on identifying strategies that universities use to facilitate and commit to scientific interdisciplinary research and collaborative research. She is currently a special editor to the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education.

Jenny J. Lee, University of Arizona

Jenny J. Lee is a Professor at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. She is currently a NAFSA Senior Fellow, Associate Editor of the Review of Higher Education, and Co-editor of the book series, Studies in Global Higher Education.

John P. Haupt , University of Arizona

John P. Haupt is a Ph.D. student in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on issues in comparative and international higher education.


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How to Cite

Ghosh, S., Lee, J. ., & Haupt , J. . (2021). Understanding the Attraction of the Microcampus: A Quantitative Investigation of Students’ Motivations to Enroll in Transnational Education. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(5), 53–71. https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v13i5.3679



Winter 2021 Special Edition