CBU an­a­lyz­ing stu­dent re­ten­tion data

Cape Breton Post - - news - BY NANCY KING CAPE BRE­TON POST nk­ing@cb­post.com

SYD­NEY— An of­fi­cial at Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity says a new study looking at how many Mar­itime stu­dents go on to com­plete their stud­ies may help uni­ver­si­ties bet­ter un­der­stand why some are dis­ap­pear­ing from the sys­tem.

A study re­leased this week by the Mar­itime Prov­inces Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion showed al­most 80 per cent of stu­dents in the re­gion were still en­rolled at the same uni­ver­sity a year af­ter they were ad­mit­ted and only about 60 per cent go on to grad­u­ate within six years.

Gor­don MacIn­nis, Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity’s vice-pres­i­dent of fi­nance and op­er­a­tions, said his school’s fig­ures are com­pa­ra­ble with those re­leased by the MPHEC.

“What the MPHEC study does is it sort of raises other ques­tions as well, in terms of if you look at the stu­dents that are not com­plet­ing their de­grees and sort of dis­ap­pear from the sys­tem, and that’s about 40 per cent af­ter three years,” he said. “Where are they go­ing and what is hap­pen­ing to them?”

MacIn­nis noted stu­dents could be trans­fer­ring to other uni­ver­si­ties or go­ing into a dif­fer­ent pro­gram of study, he said. CBU is now looking at the data that is spe­cific to it and is try­ing to fig­ure out how “stu­dents are fun­nelling af­ter years two, years three,” and try­ing to take some lessons from that. They’ll also be looking at what drives the suc­cess of stu­dents who do com­plete their stud­ies.

He noted there could be aca­demic, fi­nan­cial and per­sonal rea­sons driv­ing stu­dents’ de­ci­sions.

Uni­ver­si­ties spend a lot of money re­cruit­ing stu­dents and re­tain­ing stu­dents is also im­por­tant, he added.

MacIn­nis noted the sit­u­a­tion in the Mar­itimes is re­flec­tive of what is oc­cur­ring else­where in the coun­try.

The study also found that three per cent of stu­dents who be­gan stud­ies in 2001 were still en­rolled six years later and 39 per cent had left the uni­ver­sity without com­plet­ing a de­gree. About 19 per cent of those who left af­ter the first year, re­turned to the same in­sti­tu­tion within the next five years.

Stu­dents en­rolled in ap­plied or pro­fes­sional pro­grams were the most likely to per­sist and grad­u­ate within six years, while those en­rolled in hu­man­i­ties, arts and so­cial sciences were less likely to per­sist and grad­u­ate.

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