Higher Education Drop-Out in Spain—Particular Case of Universities in Galicia

  •  Maria Arce    
  •  Barbara Crespo    
  •  Carla Míguez-Álvarez    


The existence of a high university dropout rate in Spain is undeniable. Data shows that approximately one out of five students drop out from college. During the economic expansion period (2001-2007) more students abandoned their studies than during the crisis period (2007-2011). This situation also affects unemployment rates due to the fact that higher education leads to lower unemployment rates. Galicia presented slightly higher dropout rates than Spain from 2006 to 2009; nevertheless during the 2009/2010 academic year this rate was lower. The reasons for dropout can be divided into six distinct factors: psycho educational, evolutionary, family, economic, institutional and social factors. The main drop-out motives are related, among others, to incompatibility with work, economy, university (environment, teachers and difficulties) and so on. According to the BBVA research, the dropout rate imposes a great cost on the entire economy reaching the sum of 5,772 euros per year and per student and exceeding the amount of 1,500 million euros if the student drops out during the first cycle. Due to the urgent need of reducing the dropout rate, the Ministry of Education developed an action plan to increase the number of young people enrolled in a higher education course; so that, consequently, Spain can redirect its economic growth model.

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