Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Richard F. Huff

Second Advisor

Dr. Diane J. Simon

Third Advisor

Dr. Myung H. Jin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Nancy Stutts


The purpose of this study was to expand the extent of available literature in regard to the factors that contribute to students’ academic performance in college. It focused on a neglected segment of the student population, which is Saudi Arabian students studying in the United States. This study utilized a nonexperimental quantitative research design in order to investigate the relationship between the independent variables (the characteristics of the student, the characteristics of the program, and the academic and social integration between the student and the program) and the dependent variables (degree GPA, ability to graduate within academic program time frame, or dropout).

The data were collected from Saudi Arabian students who previously enrolled in the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) and had graduated or dropped out between the period of 2005 to 2016. A Web-based electronic survey was sent and made available for Saudi students

who entered KASP via any of the entry methods in the United States. There were 1,020 students who participated in the survey, and only 543 of them fully completed the survey. Only completed surveys were considered for analysis.

The results showed that some students’ characteristics, some program characteristics, and some academic and social integration attributes were strongly correlated with students’ academic performance in college.

This study presented empirical evidence about which factors can impact students’ performance in college. It provided some answers to why some students succeed, while others fail. It also offered insights and recommendations for higher education policymakers as well as for scholars in the field of higher education policy, especially those concerned with admission policies of academic programs.


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