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More and more people are dropping out of college (especially men)

7,000 students from the 2010/11 academic year didn’t make it to second year.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

ONE IN SIX third-level students drop out during or after their first year according to research from the Higher Education Authority.

The figures relate to new entrants in the 2010/11 academic year with the 16% drop out rate 1% higher than a similar study in 2007/08.

Women continue to out perform men in terms of third-level progression with the gap widening. The overall male non-progression rate is 19% compared to 13% for females. In 2007/08 the situation was 17% and 13%.

These figures are likely influenced by the drop out rate in construction which is the highest of any third-level study area. 

At level 6, engineering and construction courses have a non-progression rate of 39% and 40% at level 7.

Progression in computing courses appear to be improving with a drop out rate of 25% in level 8 courses, 2% lower than six years ago. There’s even greater progression at level 6 and 7.

The chair of the HEA John Hennessey says that, although overall drop rates are increasing, Ireland is still performing well:

We have one of the highest participation rates in higher education in the world and a very good progression rate to ensure that students complete their course. Improvements in progression in computing and science are welcome. That said, we need to understand why many students don’t make it through.

“Behind these statistics, there are around 7,000 students who do not progress from first to second year. This has an impact on their lives but is also costly to the system,” he added.

Read: Irish students lean towards France and Spain for Erasmus >

Opinion: The CAO system can clearly be gamed, and it’s perpetuating disadvantage >

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Rónán Duffy

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