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The determinants of university dropout: A review of the socio-economic literature

Carmen Aina, Eliana Baici, Giorgia Casalone and Francesco Pastore

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2022, vol. 79, issue C

Abstract: This article provides a comprehensive review of the socio-economic literature on the student determinants of tertiary education dropout, in order to help research scholars better understand this phenomenon. Empirical findings are framed within a theoretical model that analyzes higher education choices and prospective outcomes in a dynamic setting, where informative issues (emphasized by the economic literature) and relational ones (emphasized by the sociological literature) are crucial to predicting students' achievements. Our review suggests that student university persistence/attrition depends on a mix of individual, institutional, and economic factors, the effects of which on the dropout decision are mediated by a student's ability to integrate into the academic system. Some factors are given, and their effects are valuable only in a descriptive perspective. Others, instead, can be manipulated by the decisionmakers in the tertiary education system and, as such, are more interesting from the policymaker's viewpoint. In particular, all interventions aimed at fulfilling the initial informational gap of students and at improving their integration into academic and social life are key to study success.

Keywords: Tertiary education; University dropout; Student retention; Student completion; Student success; Human capital theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H52 I20 I21 I22 I23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2021.101102

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