No increase in dropout figures during corona year

14 Sep 2021

Last year did not see an increase in the number of first years that quit their study at Radboud University, despite the worsening student wellbeing over the course of the academic Corona year. Additionally, students achieved better results than those of the previous year.

The corona pandemic did not lead to a higher dropout rate among first years at Radboud University last year. Out of all the students that started their Bachelor’s, 15.3 percent discontinued their study, according to the dropout figures that Vox requested from the university.

This percentage is not much higher than in previous years. During the 2019-2020 academic year, 14.3 percent of the first year’s students deregistered from their chosen programme. The percentage was a little higher in the years before that, with 16.7 percent in 2018-2019 and 16.4 percent in 2017-2018. Spokesperson Martijn Gerritsen was pleased to see that the percentage did not increase: ‘We were afraid that the opposite would be the case.’

The figures only take into account those students that started their first Bachelor’s degree at Radboud University, and did not include students who switched to a different course.

Study performance

Not only was the dropout rate lower than expected, but study performance was higher than previous years, according to a university analysis conducted in April. During the first semester of the previous academic year, students earned almost half an EC more on average than in the year before that. In addition, the average grade rose from a 7.17 to a 7.21. Gerritsen does not know the exact reason for this. ‘I can imagine that students lacked other things to do and so a number of them would have had more time for studying’, says Gerritsen.

However, Gerritsen is aware that study performance and dropout rates do not tell the whole story. ‘We know that a significant part of the student population is not doing well.’ Researchers from the university released a report earlier this year which stated that 80 percent of the students is dealing with a decline in motivation, and that 10 percent is seeking professional help. As stated by Gerritsen: ‘That is why we are so very glad that on-campus classes can resume again.’

The finalised figures will be released on October 1st, but according to Gerritsen the university has no reason to assume that the number will change dramatically.

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