Work beats study for 25% of university drop-outs


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Over 3 million young people in the European Union (EU) had been to university or college but had discontinued their studies at some point in their life, according to a survey of 2016. That compares with almost 30 million young people in the EU that completed their tertiary degree over the same period.

The main reasons for not continuing their education were numerous. They included a desire to work instead (reported by about 25%), or finding their studies uninteresting or not meeting their needs (given by 22%). Almost 18% cited the degree of difficulty of their studies, whereas about 10% reported that they dropped out because of family reasons. Finally, around 7% struggled with studies because of financial reasons and 5% reported health problems.

More women than men reported that they discontinued their studies because of family (16% vs 6%) and health (6% vs 4%) reasons. However more men than women dropped out of tertiary education citing the wish to work (28% vs 21%). Similarly, more men than women named problems related to the difficulty of the course work (20% vs 16%).


Reasons for not continuing education

Source: European Labour Force Survey ad hoc module on young people on the labour market (2016)

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