CA TodayLatest News

More Canadian students are considering dropping out: survey – CTV News

A new survey has found that while two in five students are seriously considering dropping out of their institutions, there is also a wave of optimism about the future.

The 2022 Canadian Student Wellbeing Study, conducted independently by Angus Reid and commissioned by education company Studiosity, recently looked into Canadian post-secondary students’ current stress levels, ideas about dropping out, and future outlooks.

The study included 1,014 participating students surveyed online between March 10 to March 24, with domestic students making up 89 per cent of the cohort and international students making up the remaining 11 per cent.

In the survey, 62 per cent of students aged between 18 to 21 said they felt stressed by studying or doing schoolwork daily. The number significantly declined for 22-year-olds, with only 48 per cent feeling the same way.

Half of the students said that more access to financial aid would help combat their stress levels. The survey also found that fewer students want a return to in-person classes compared to 2021.

“Free university so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about putting my family in massive debt in the future. Or grants for parents,” one student said in their responses to the survey.

Student debt in Canada, as of 2022, amounts to $18 billion, and the average student debtor owes at least $28,000, according to Statistics Canada.

The study also revealed that domestic students in Canada reported higher stress levels than international students, outranking them in most variables, including balancing school and social commitments.

MORE STUDENTS ARE CONSIDERING DROPPING OUT

Forty per cent of students said they’re seriously considering dropping out of university. That’s up 5 per cent from 2021.

The survey found that students in Ontario mainly drove this number. In Ontario, this cohort represented 41 per cent of students, up nine points from 2021.

There was also a dramatic change in preference according to age. Nearly half of students (47 per cent) aged 18 to 19 said they’re seriously considering dropping out of their institutions, up from 2021 when it was 29 per cent.

Full-time students were also more inclined to drop out, the survey found. Thirty-eight per cent of students said to be considering it, up seven points from 2021.

GROWING OPTIMISM TOWARD FUTURE EMPLOYMENT 

According to the survey, 64 per cent of students said they’re optimistic about their employment post college or university.

Forty-four per cent of this group described themselves as “somewhat optimistic,” while 20 per cent said they’re “very optimistic.”

Many students said in their comments that they expect more CO-OP and internship opportunities from their institutions and are optimistic that these opportunities may lead them to more permanent employment.

“It is comforting to see that a significant majority of students are still feeling optimistic about their future, up a modest amount from 2021,” Judyth Sachs, chief academic officer at Studiosity, said in a release last week.

“It is a testament to universities that have been focusing on student safety and wellbeing through some of the most difficult years, making students feel supported and listened to throughout the challenges of the pandemic.”

The survey found a distinct gap between students who are already working full- or part-time

compared to those who aren’t. Seventy-one per cent and 65 per cent of both groups respectively said they’re optimistic about their future employment opportunities.

According to the survey, unemployed students are twice as likely to be pessimistic regarding future job opportunities.