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Factors that affect accounting students’ academic success at undergraduate level at Durban University of Technology.

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Numerous international and national studies have been conducted that have concentrated on factors that influenced and impacted on student success, where the specific focus was on undergraduate student success in academic programmes. A lack of research in this area had been highlighted both nationally and locally, especially with KwaZulu-Natal, and this gap in such literature justified further research in the province. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence and impact of various factors on students’ undergraduate studies at a university of technology. The student success model that was created for this study was based on Bronferbrenner’s bio-ecological model which recognised multiple systems that influence student success. In this study, these systems are referred to as student success factors, namely the first-year student experience programme, the tutor programme, the student success programme, family support, financial support, and institutional support. The research was positioned in the Positivist Paradigm and consisted of an investigative study. The sample size was a minimum of 30 respondents. The study used a single method approach. The primary data collection tool was a survey questionnaire. The data were collected using an online questionnaire, and this being a quantitative study, the data collected were statistically analysed using both descriptive and correlation methods. The target population consisted of post-graduate students who had completed their three-year undergraduate academic programmes in the field of accounting in the Accounting and Informatics faculty at the Ritson Road campus of the Durban University of Technology. As indicated in the results, a combined 71.9% correlation among the postgraduate students relating to factors in the questionnaire about specific programmes, namely first-year student experience, tutor, and student success that retrospectively, positively impacted and influenced their undergraduate studies. The research also found that students' reactions to various support factors varied. From the results, of the list of key student success factors, namely financial, institutional and family, more than 80 percent agreed that family support contributed to their student success, while more than half of the participants felt that support from the institution was a significant factor in their student success. It can be concluded that all factors investigated in the study, barring the financial factor, positively influenced and impacted these students’ success at undergraduate level. Results emanating from this research study are intended to be helpful to academics lecturing on the undergraduate level. The findings of this research would also assist in the development of programmes or initiatives by institutions of higher learning to enable greater academic success with undergraduate students.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.