Student university choice in Kurdistan-Iraq: what factors matter?

Azad M. Qasim, P. Al-Askari, H.K. Massoud, Rami Ayoubi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We aim to investigate the factors influencing student choice in the private higher education (HE) sector in Kurdistan-Iraq. Hence, this research attempts to add to the literature in terms of understanding student university choice, in general, and address the gap in the literature in the context of Middle Eastern studies including Kurdistan, in particular. We employed a survey research design using a self-developed questionnaire targeting first-year students in private universities in Kurdistan. Using a sample of 518 students and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), we found that the university characteristics that most influenced student choice were reputation/accreditation, quality of teaching, employability and quality of facilities, a finding consistent with existing literature. However, cost of study was not seen to be highly influential in relation to student choice. Accordingly, the study recommends that universities consider increasing their tuition fees and dedicating the extra revenues to boosting their reputation, enhancing their quality of teaching and accreditation and increasing their connection to and relationships with local employers. Some other implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-136
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Kurdistan-Iraq
  • University characteristics
  • private universities
  • student choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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