Four in Every Five Irish Students Complete their Degree
By David Reilly
Posted: 14 February, 2019
Major Study of Higher Education Completion Rates Finds that Leaving Certificate Performance is Strongest Predictor of Completion
Today (Thursday 14th February), the Higher Education Authority (HEA) publishes a study on the rates of completion of 34,059 students who entered Irish Universities, Institutes and Colleges full time at undergraduate level in the 2007/8 academic year. These students were tracked over the following ten years and the report finds that overall, 76% of them graduated within that period. At Level 8 Honours Degree Level, more than four in every five students completed with completion rates of 94% in the Colleges (Colleges of Education and NCAD), 83% in the Universities and 74% in the Institutes of Technology. At 62%, the levels of completion at level 6 and 7 programmes is lower, but that still means that more than three in five at this level complete their course.
Among the other key findings –
– Students on education / teaching courses are most likely to complete at 91%, followed by those in health & welfare areas at 84%. The lowest completion field is computing at 55%.
– Completion rates for females are higher than males (81% v 71%) and this reflects the generally higher performance rates of females in education generally.
– Performance in the Leaving Certificate, especially in Leaving Certificate Maths and in English, is a good indicator of likelihood to complete a third level course. In general, the higher the Leaving Cert points, the more likely to complete.
– Concerning the length of their course, 58% of students graduated on time, 71% graduated a year later than usual and in total, 76% completed at some stage.
– 63% of non-completion is accounted for by students leaving during their first year in college.
– Ireland compares well internationally on this data.
Paul O’Toole, Chief Executive of the HEA, said,
“This detailed report is a significant contribution to broadening understanding of student performance at higher education. The findings are mostly positive but require further consideration to address some of the challenges that the evidence presents. In particular, we need to look at non-completion rates by males in certain areas, and the higher education system is seeking ways to improve the outcomes for those students.”