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Study Reveals Risk Factors Leading to Dropping Out of College

Depression and loss of financial aid are top factors for college students considering dropping out, according to a new Michigan State University study. Students also were sensitive to being recruited by an employer or another institution, experiencing a large increase in tuition or living costs, an unexpected bad grade, and roommate conflicts.

Less critical events—those that did not have a significant influence on their intention to drop out—included: a death in the family, significant injury, inability to enter their intended major, addiction to a substance.coming into a large sum of money, the loss of a job needed to pay tuition, and engagement or marriage.

Colleges would be smart to consider this research as they craft strategies and support services to retain students and help meet the college-readiness agenda.

The study, funded by the College Board, will appear in an upcoming issue of the research journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. It was based on surveys from 1,158 freshmen at 10 U.S. colleges and universities.

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