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The Socio-Economic Gap in University Drop Out

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  • N Powdthavee
  • A Vignoles

Abstract

It has been shown in the recent literature on widening participation that in England a disadvantaged pupil has as much a chance of attending a university as a more advantaged student, provided that s/he manages to reach a sufficient level of achievement at the secondary school level. This finding leads to an important conclusion of no genuine socio-economic gap in university participation once prior attainments have been taken into account. The current article investigates whether the same conclusion can be reached with respect to university drop-out. Using a combination of school and higher education administrative data sets, we are able to show that there is indeed a sizeable and statistically significant gap in the rate of withdrawal after the first year of university between the most advantaged and disadvantaged English students. This socio-economic gap in university drop-out remains even after allowing for their personal characteristics, prior achievement and institution choice. Our results thus suggest that the use of raw drop out rates in the English university 'league table' as one of the main indicators of university efficiency can be quite misleading given that the ranking of universities by drop out rate would change markedly if the prior attainment of students were taken fully into account.

Suggested Citation

  • N Powdthavee & A Vignoles, 2008. "The Socio-Economic Gap in University Drop Out," Discussion Papers 08/23, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:08/23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stratton Leslie S. & Wetzel James N., 2013. "Are Students Dropping Out or Simply Dragging Out the College Experience? Persistence at the Six-Year Mark," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1121-1142, October.
    2. Sylke V. Schnepf, 2015. "University dropouts and labor market success," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 182-182, September.
    3. Steve Gibbons & Anna Vignoles, 2009. "Access, Choice and Participation in Higher Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0101, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    4. Elias Katsikas & Theodore Panagiotidis, 2010. "Student Status and Academic Performance: an approach of the quality determinants of university studies in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 40, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    5. Haroon Chowdry & Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Alissa Goodman & Anna Vignoles, 2013. "Widening participation in higher education: analysis using linked administrative data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(2), pages 431-457, February.
    6. Claire Crawford, 2014. "Socio-economic differences in university outcomes in the UK: drop-out, degree completion and degree class," IFS Working Papers W14/31, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Lisa Meehan & Gail Pacheco & Zoe Pushon, 2017. "Explaining ethnic disparities in bachelor’s degree participation: Evidence from NZ," Working Papers 2017-03, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    8. John Jerrim & Anna Vignoles & Ross Finnie, 2012. "University access for disadvantaged children: A comparison across English speaking countries," DoQSS Working Papers 12-11, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    9. Wolter, Stefan C. & Zumbühl, Maria, 2017. "The Native-Migrant Gap in the Progression into and through Upper-Secondary Education," IZA Discussion Papers 11217, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Steve Bradley & Giuseppe Migali, 2015. "The Effect of a Tuition Fee Reform on the Risk of Drop Out from University in the UK," Working Papers 86010138, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    11. Maria Eduarda Tannuri Pianto & Andrew Francis, 2011. "The Redistributive Efficacy Ofaffirmative Action: Exploring The Role Of Race And Socioeconomic Statusin College Admissions," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 218, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    12. Elias Katsikas & Theologos Dergiades, 2012. "Revising higher education policy in Greece: filling the Danaids’ Jar," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 279-292, August.
    13. Elias Katsikas & Theodore Panagiotidis, 2011. "Student Status and Academic Performance: Accounting for the Symptom of Long Duration of Studies in Greece," Discussion Paper Series 2011_04, Department of Economics, University of Macedonia, revised Mar 2011.
    14. Tommaso Agasisti & Samuele Murtinu, 2013. "Are we wasting public money? No! The effects of grants on Italian university students’ performances," Working Papers 2013/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    15. Francis, Andrew M. & Tannuri-Pianto, Maria, 2012. "The redistributive equity of affirmative action: Exploring the role of race, socioeconomic status, and gender in college admissions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 45-55.
    16. Steven Bradley & Giuseppe Migali, 2017. "The Effects of the 2006 Tuition Fee Reform and the Great Recession on University Student Dropout Behaviour in the UK," Working Papers 149346773, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    17. Elias Katsikas & Theologos Dergiades, 2009. "Higher Education Policy in Greece: Filling the Danaids' Jar," Discussion Paper Series 2009_16, Department of Economics, University of Macedonia, revised Nov 2009.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Drop out rate; Higher Education; Prior achievement; Socio-economic gap.;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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