Plastic and Accidental Students: A Study of Student Early Departure at a Leading University in Poland

Seminar | February 23 | 12-1 p.m. | Evans Hall, Library, Room 768

 Tomasz Zajac, Center For Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley

 Center for Studies in Higher Education

Despite success stories of higher education dropouts such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, student attrition is still commonly perceived as a problem. Non-completion bears costs for all stakeholders: students, institutions, and the state. As yet, there has been very little research on the matter of student persistence in Poland, a country that experienced huge expansion of higher education in last quarter of the century. Since 1990, the elitist system of Polish higher education, serving just 10% of the most talented secondary education graduates, has grown in terms of the number of students, leading to net enrollment rate reaching 40%. However, the massified system is not efficient in terms of completion rates. On the national level, the proportion of students who enter tertiary education and graduate is lower in Poland than in most of OECD countries. So far there has been very little research on student early departure patterns at the institutional level. The presentation summarizes the results of a mixed methods research on dropout behavior at the University of Warsaw, a leading higher education institution in Poland. The study includes administrative data analysis, a survey, and qualitative in-depth interviews and aims at identifying the types of student attrition and their underlying causes.

Open to the Public, No RSVP required, 510-643-9212