The Political, Socio-economic and Sociocultural Impacts of the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) on Saudi Arabia

Kholoud T. Hilal, Safiyyah R. Scott, Nina Maadad


Since 2006, Saudi Arabian politicians, economists and sociologists have had to consider the implications of their country’s King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP). Because Saudi Arabia has certain religious traditions and economic practices that are sensitive, international scholars are examining from different perspectives the outcomes and potential impacts of KASP. While Saudi Arabia has all the necessary tools to compete with the developed nations (such as natural resources and manpower), it is caught between the need to globalise its economy but retain its strict, conservative traditions. Following a brief definition of KASP, this paper highlights some of the external and internal contemporary political, economic and socio-cultural challenges that it sets for Saudi Arabia. Finally, the anticipated impacts of KASP according to scholarship recipients are reviewed using survey data from around 688 overseas Saudi students. This paper is based on the primary researcher’s PhD thesis.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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