Exploratory study of the academic impact of study abroad participation at the University of Alabama

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University of Alabama Libraries

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, total undergraduate enrollment increased by 28% from 2010 to 2016, to 16.4 million students. Despite this upward trend, degree completion rates of undergraduates have only shown an increase of 1.9% since what was recorded during the Great Depression. With the college costs skyrocketing, stakeholders are holding higher education institutions accountable for transparency in retention and degree completion rates. There is a large body of research from authors such as Kuh, Tinto, and Astin, that has demonstrated student involvement in college increases the likelihood that students will persist to graduation. In particular, Kuh (2008) identified certain educational activities called high impact practices (HIP) that promote positive associations with degree completion rates. Study abroad is one of those HIPs. The purpose of this study was to explore the academic impact of study abroad participation, as it relates to degree completion and time-to-degree, for first first-time full-time freshman enrolled at The University of Alabama during Fall 2010 and 2011 semesters. Particularly, this study aimed to identify contributors to said impact including race, socio-economic status, academic major, and study abroad program characteristics.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Educational leadership