Redefining Student Success: When College Students Choose to Leave (CCWT, 2023)

Chin, M. Y.(2023). Redefining Student Success: When College Students Choose to Leave. Early Career Scholars Program. Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions. University of Wisconsin–Madison, Division of Continuing Studies.

Abstract: The financial value of higher education in the United States has been increasingly contested given college affordability concerns for students, and broader economic uncertainties, such as inflation (Levine, 2023; U.S. Federal Reserve, 2023). While research has demonstrated the benefits of a college degree, the public’s perception of its overall value has been waning (Schleifer et al., 2022). With respect to the benefits of college, national survey data from the U.S. Census between 1975 and 2015 showed that respondents with college degrees reported higher salaries, better health behaviors (e.g., exercise), and more civic engagement (e.g., volunteering) than those without (Ma et al., 2016). This brief provides overviews the types and contributions of college student transition programs towards student success in four-year institutions, in the context of dominant and critical theoretical frameworks on student retention and success. It further discusses the potential for institutions to structurally augment their support for students who are contemplating leaving college. Recommendations for policy, practice, and research are discussed.