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Study Finds That More Maritimes Students Are Dropping Out

Written by Connor Briggs-Morris

A new study finds that university students in the Maritimes are dropping out at an alarming rate.

Student advocates are raising concerns about the bigger and bigger number of students who aren’t graduating from university in the Maritimes. “I think it is absolutely concerning that, especially in the Maritimes, the drop-out rate after the first year seems to be higher than in the rest of Canada,” says Tristan Bray, executive director of Students Nova Scotia.

So what’s really going on here?

What Do the Numbers Say?

These revelations come in the wake of a study performed by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission in Fredericton. The study found that 31% of all students who entered university in the Maritimes would drop out at some point. That includes a whopping 17% of students dropping out by the end of their first year.

The study was conducted by tracking 9,518 students across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island for 7 years. They observed these students as they entered university for the first time and tracked where they ended up.

Another alarming stat? Only 41% of those students graduated on time from the same university they started at. Some took longer to complete their degrees, others transferred away entirely, and many simply dropped out.

Why Are So Many Maritimes Students Dropping Out?

There are lots of reasons why students drop out of university but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why it’s such a big problem in the Maritimes, specifically.

For starters, there’s always the high cost to consider. The financial strain of affording university can often be more than some students and their families can handle.

Under the current agreement, which just ended, universities in Nova Scotia (which made up the bulk of the study) could raise tuition up to 3% this past year for Nova Scotians. Plus there were unlimited caps for grad students, international students, and others. For what it’s worth, the Canadian Federation of Students keeps fighting this and insists that tuition fees cannot keep rising.

There are other causes, as well. For many, it’s their first time on their own. Some students simply have trouble living away from home and that familiar support system.

Whatever the cause, hopefully, these schools can find a way to make finishing university more palatable for students.


Here's One Way to Help Pay for School.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.