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The Roads to Success: Analyzing Dropout and Degree Completion at University

Elena Arias and Catherine Dehon ()

Working Papers ECARES from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: In this paper we study the factors that influence both dropout and degree completion (4 or 5 years to earn a degree) at university using survival analysis. In particular, we apply the set of discrete-time methods for competing risks event history analysis described in Scott and Kennedy (2005). Using the competing risks model, we show that foreign students are more likely to experience consecutive enrollments without actually getting a degree. Also, having a mother with a higher education degree reduces significantly the risk of dropping out and at the same time increases the chance of graduation. Finally, the impact of a variable can evolve throughout the academic path. For example, “having chosen a strong mathematical profile during high school ” reduces significantly the risk of dropping out only in the early years of study.

Date: 2011-09
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