PSE student attrition rates in Ontario lower than previously thought, report finds

March 15, 2012

New research published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario observes that overall leave rates are lower and graduation rates are higher when examined from a system-wide perspective that acknolwedges a diversity of pathways for students once enrolled in PSE. The report says student-retention programs and initiatives should explore the issue from this viewpoint, and not solely consider institutional "drop-out" rates as these can be misleading. The study found that among both college and university students in Ontario, switching and leaving rates are higher in first year and drop substantially over the course of the program. However, the overall leaving rates are quite different compared to the rest of the country. 23% of college students who begin a program in Ontario leave without graduating or directly switching to another program within in the first 3 years, which is slightly higher than the national average. Just 7.4% of Ontario university students leave PSE entirely by their fourth year, compared to 18.4% nationally. Research Summary | Full Report