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  • Author or Editor: Zsuzsanna Demeter-Karaszi x
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If the student status ends before the absolutorium (pre-degree), we can speak about dropout. In our paper, we are going to present the cases of termination of the student status and we would also like to make a comparison in three countries: Hungary, Ukraine, and Romania. The aim of our research is to demonstrate the various ways in which student status can be terminated. The dropout is an important and significant topic in higher education policy, because it causes institutional and individual loss, too.

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Background and aims

Even the richest statistical databases leave the reasons of student dropout from higher education largely obscure. It is the answers of the students who drop out that the panel examinations of the cohorts of students do not contain. The theoretical background to our research was provided by Coleman’s concept of social capital (1961), Tinto’s integrational and Astin’s involvement theory, as well as Pascarella and Terenzini’s institutional integration/embeddedness ideas (2005).

Methods

To find a solution to that problem, we devised a quantitative, questionnaire survey, based upon the qualitative examination of students who have dropped out (DEPART 2018; N = 591). For data gathering, the snowball method was used, and almost all academic fields are represented in the database. The primary objective of the research was revealing and identifying the factors preventing students from obtaining a degree, surveying the processes and decisions that resulted in their not being able to graduate. School career, educational experience, the attitude of the family to the student’s studies, job/career orientation, educational and social experience in higher education, competitive activities, and social–economical characteristics were the topics we examined. We collected the data of the students who have dropped out with the questionnaire (IESA 2015; N = 2017) and compared the information thus collected with the social and demographic characteristics, school career, and higher educational integration of persistent students. We also compared the data to the embeddedness of (the persistent) students in various voluntary organizations (civic, sport, and religious). For the examination of persistence, a 9-item, highly reliable scale [Cronbach, 883 (IESA)] has been used since 2012.

Results

The results suggest that the influence of institutional factors and that of the social network is more powerful than the individual characteristics. We found considerable differences between the intra- and extra-campus influences.

Discussion

Our findings highlight the necessity of providing empirical foundations for the institutional dropout prevention programs.

Open access