22 SES 11 B, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
Over the last few decades, policies in many European Union members states promote the expansion of higher education. This has led to the widening participation in order to develop the 21st century knowledge society. Despite that, in a short time, the issue of student retention or non completion has been raised (Tinto,1993). Retention or non completion is a growing concern and has prompted increasing research.
A growing body of literature shows that a large amount of students entering higher education fail to realize their dreams and aspirations. In this context, a growing number of research examines the reasons for student retention and its impact on students and higher education institutions. Some of the major reasons are academic preparedness, campus climate, commitment to educational goals, institutional habitus, academic integration and financial aidand social class (Taylor & Bedford 2004, Thomas, 2002). Student retention is a serious problem that leads to the reproduction of inequalities in higher education, despite the widening of participation that aimed at promoting equality. Student retention, or non completion is linked to social inequalities in higher education, as there is a clear relationship between social background and achievement due to differential levels of economic, cultural, and social capital (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977). Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more prone to poor educational outcomes and drop out of university (Thomas & Yorke, 2003).
Despite the growing importance of mass retention, there is a poor body of research in Greece, at a time when according to official statistics a great number of students do not their studies in higher education.
The aim of that research is to find out the importance of academic integration with regard to student retention and the fact that students have a difficult time completing their studies. We made an attempt to answer on two basic questions. Firstly, we tried to investigate the reasons why students drop out and secondly, the interaction between students’ socioeconomic background and retention. This proposal takes into account the findings of the relevant literature, as well as the trends of current European Union policy about the creation of a common space of European higher education.
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