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"Need to work" common reason for leaving college early, says report

April 22, 2003

The most common reason for early departure from college is the need to work, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics.

"Other financial reasons," "done taking desired courses" and "conflicts at home/personal problems" also were cited frequently as reasons for leaving. Women were more likely to say they left for personal or family-related reasons, while men were more likely to say they left because of academic problems or to begin working.
April 22, 2003

The most common reason for early departure from college is the need to work, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics.

"Other financial reasons," "done taking desired courses" and "conflicts at home/personal problems" also were cited frequently as reasons for leaving. Women were more likely to say they left for personal or family-related reasons, while men were more likely to say they left because of academic problems or to begin working.

Students with low grades in the first year were likely to leave, as were students with children.

Transfer students were less likely to drop out before earning a degree than those who remained at one institution.

Students who wait a year after high school before enrolling are more likely to leave than those who enrolled right after high school.

Sixty-two percent of students who had been married before enrolling left before earning a degree, compared with only 15 percent of those who had never been married.

The report, "Short-Term Enrollment in Postsecondary Education" is based on the "Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study," and is available online at the Web site of the National Center for Education Statistics.