22 SES 13 C, Higher Education Drop-Out: Reasons and Risks
The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of an increase of student population on dropout risk and to analyze if this correlation may be plained by lower institutional resources (lower faculty-student ratio). Multiple regression models are conducted based on administrative data, covering student records of Swiss universities, years 1975-2011. Based on the model of Heublein et al. (2010), the increase of student population may be considered as a factor leading to changes in study conditions (particularly to institutional resources). These changes may increase the risk of university dropout. Overall, I find evidence for a positive effect of student population growth on dropout risk. Yet, there are heterogeneous effects by department, which may be explained by differences in the structure of the curricula (high-level vs. low-level structure), the existence of yearly exams or the use of special/limited rooms (labs). Further analyses suggest that the correlation between student growth and dropout risk may be partly explained by lower faculty-student ratio. Heublein, U., Hutzsch, Ch., Schreiber J., Sommer, D. & Besuch, G. (2010). Ursachen des Studienabbruchs in Bachelor- und in herkömmlichen Studiengängen: Ergebnisse einer bundesweiten Befragung von Exmatrikulierten des Studienjahres 2007/08. HIS:Forum Hochschule, Nr. F02/2010.
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