Our research is a part of a complex dropout research, whose main aim is to examine the time changes, social and regional inequalities, and constitutional differentiation of student dropout, appearing on a large scale and causing individual and institutional loss. As a part of this, the aim of our research on one hand is to identify the training fields and training levels with high dropout risk, furthermore to draw the patterns of dropout based on the available countrywide data.
We analyzed the database of the Hungarian Higher Education Informational System for our research, especially considering the students starting their training, based on final exam. We examined the most important features of advancements in studies, furthermore the occurring recoils. Considering our data, the measure of dropout remarkable differs based on the training fields and schedule, training, finances and some demographically background variable as well, taking the measure of dropout and its reasons into account. During our analysis, we separated three main types of the dropout’s reasons: financial reasons, study inefficiency, and dropout caused by other reasons.
In this study, we examine these types and their characteristics in three different training levels: Bachelor degree programs, undivided, long-cycle Master courses, and short-cycle higher education vocational training.
Almost one third of the students end up joining the group of dropout in all kind of training type, especially critical period is from the second to the fifth semester. The most endangered are males, correspondent students, fee-paying students, participants of higher education vocational training, furthermore the students of science and students of IT fields.
Higher educational dropout is a significant area of education policy in Hungary. First, the proportion of graduated higher educational students is low when compared to the OECD average, which may be caused by dropout from higher educational courses. On the other hand, although the phenomenon of dropout has been closely investigated in several international research papers, the methodology used to determine the dropout ratio is unsatisfactory, mainly due to the lack of expert consensus. As a consequence, we do not have precise data regarding the dropout ratios, which make investigations related to this area even more necessary. The aim of this study was to measure the possible reasons for delayed graduation and dropout, and it was carried out as a qualitative study based on existing theories. In our investigation, the role of the sociocultural background; the years prior to the time spent in higher education; and the motivation of the choice of institution, employment, sports, and social activities were measured through an analysis of seven individual interviews and one focus group conversation involving 10 participants based on a semi-structured interview methodology. The causes of delayed graduation and dropout, which are more difficult to observe, are an inappropriately chosen institution and/or course, employment while studying intensively in a higher education institution, competitive sport and friends with a negative attitude toward learning. Our analysis provides a stable basis for a wider questionnaire-based investigation on a representative sample and its main units have been developed according to the research blocks of the interview analysis.