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ERIC Number: ED505791
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 253
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
Stay, Play Or Give It Away? Students Continuing, Changing or Leaving University Study in First Year
Long, Michael; Ferrier, Fran; Heagney, Margaret
Centre for the Economics of Education and Training, Monash University
This study extends previous research on university attrition and course completion by its focus on the reasons for attrition and tracking the subsequent enrolment and other outcomes of students who discontinue their university studies. It also looks at older students as well as students from younger groups. It finds that attrition from first year university undergraduate degree courses is lower than has been suggested by previous research if movement of students between universities and courses and potential re-entry are included as retention. First year attrition from university may be less than 10%, depending on the proportion of students who follow through their intention to re-enrol later. It also found differences in both characteristics and drivers for students who drop out of university study altogether and those who change courses or universities. Some students discontinuing their studies had simply found a pathway to employment other than through university study. Students' comments on their reasons for dropping out highlighted that it is often a combination of reasons that leads to the decision to discontinue. Sometimes one problem, such as a marriage breakdown, would trigger a series of consequences--financial, employment and health--that proved fatal to successful study. Many students who either discontinued or changed universities were found to gain some benefits from their year of university study and are more likely to judge their first year experience positively than negatively. In addition, leaving university did not necessarily mean the end of study. (Contains 50 tables, 20 boxes, and 1 figure.)
Centre for the Economics of Education and Training. Available from: Monash University. Faculty of Education, Building 6, Monash University, Victoria 3800 Australia. Tel: +61-3-9905-9157; Fax: +61-3-9905-9184; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Monash University, Centre for the Economics of Education and Training