Students from rural and small urban areas are significantly more likely to dropout out of university or college than students from cities, according to a new study by the Measuring the Effectiveness of Student Aid (MESA) project.
The study, headed by University of Ottawa economist, Ross Finnie, concluded that “About 28.7 percent of small urban college students leave PSE in their first or second year; meanwhile, only 21.7 percent of rural and 15.8 percent of large urban college students leave PSE in their first or second year.” For university students, about four per cent of students from cities dropout compared to eight per cent for rural students and approximately 12 per cent for students from small urban centres.
Finnie told the Ottawa Citizen that moving large distances is an important factor in the urban-rural divide. “They find themselves in a new milieu, they’re uprooted from where they came from and they have challenges coping,” he said.
The study defined urban centres as those with a population of 100,000 or more, small urban centres as those with a population of between 10,000 and 100,000, and rural communities as those with less than 10,000. The researchers used data from the Longitudinal Survey of Low-Income Students which tracked 10,000 students who had received government financial aid between 2006 and 2009.
Other research from MESA compared the dropout rates of males and females. About 21 per cent of female college students dropout out in their first or second year compared to 25 per cent of male students. For university students, there was no difference between males and females with the dropout rate sitting at 6.7 per cent.
MESA also released data on aboriginal students that concluded that 30.8 per cent of aboriginal students, in college and university, dropout in their first or second year compared to 13 per cent of non-aboriginal students.