One in three college students have ‘seriously considered’ dropping out, survey finds

One in three college students have ‘seriously considered’ dropping out, survey finds
University graduates, © PA Wire/PA Images

More than a third of students have seriously thought about dropping out of their degree, according to a new study. found that almost 37 per cent of students said they have seriously considered quitting their course, rising to 42 per cent among postgraduate research students.

The study also found almost a quarter of those were considering the move due to financial reasons.

Despite this, one in every two respondents rated the overall quality of their experience in their institution as high.


The findings also indicate that the student experience is improving following the pandemic with higher rates of feedback on learning, interactions with lecturers and satisfaction with courses.

Cost of living crisis

However, the findings on pressures facing learners are echoed by student representatives who say the rising cost of living, long commutes and high rents are undermining the college experience.

The survey is funded by the Higher Education Authority and asks learners annually about their experiences in education.

Commenting on the results, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said the 10th year of the survey has resulted in almost 375,000 students giving their feedback.


“We now have a robust high-quality evidence base to inform quality enhancement discussions and outcomes in our higher education institutions,” he said.

“It is really positive to see that student experiences have improved since Covid-19 and we should continue to build on this to ensure higher education in Ireland offers the most high quality of standards.”

Chris Clifford, president of the Union of Students in Ireland, said the findings highlight the need for increased funding into education so students can feel supported to complete their studies.

“A statistic that we found concerning is that 42.1 per cent of [postgraduate] respondents had considered to withdraw from their degree programme with 23.7 per cent of those being due to financial constraints,” he said.


“USI would like to see Higher Education Institutions collaborating with student unions in developing action plans following the surveys. These plans should outline concrete steps to address any concerns highlighted by survey results, reinforcing the commitment to enhancing the student experience.”

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