High Dropout Rates Directly Linked with Lack of Student Support
The Union of Students in Ireland has released research today which shows the direct link between the high dropout rates in third level education, and emphasised that students will vote for parties who prioritise education in the General Election.
22.1% of students who dropped out of college said the main reason was financial difficulties. Three-quarters of students (74.8%) were worried or concerned about money prior to starting college (46.6% were ‘very concerned’). 84.5% of those surveyed said they were concerned about their future at the time of leaving their college course.
“High dropout rates in third level education are directly linked with the lack of student support.” Kevin Donoghue, USI President, said, “Three-quarters of students who dropped out of college in 2014/15 were worried about the cost of college before they even started their course. The cost of college came into the top three reasons people dropped out. It proves that the lack of student support such as the Student Assistant Fund, grants and counselling has a direct impact on the student retention rates.”
“We seriously need to address the support that is available at third level.” Donoghue said, “Fees are far too high and grants are insufficient. Political parties say we can’t reduce fees or increase grants, but every other country in the EU, with the exception of the UK, has significantly lower tuition fees than us. We now see that financial strains are driving people out of college and the government still isn’t doing anything about it. These results show that education is unaffordable for many students across Ireland. USI has registered over 80,000 new student voters in the past two years alone, and students are keen to use their voice and vote in a party that prioritises education in the General Election. The new government needs to follow the example of other EU countries and introduce free, publicly-funded education.”
Anxiety about college life is more common in females (54%) than males (28%) and the top three factors leading to the decision to leave college were ‘stress’ (27.6%), ‘the course was not as I expected’(23.9%) and ‘financial difficulties’ (22.1%). Other factors included ‘commute/ distance to college’ (9.8%) and ‘living away from home’ (5.5%).
Further survey results:
- 31% of students thought about leaving their course in the second year.
- 13.8% of students thought about leaving their course in their first year up to the end of January.
- 11.2% of students thought about leaving their course in their first year between February to exams.
- 19% of students thought about leaving their course in their first year after exams.
- 25% of students thought about leaving their course in later years.