Student Retention in the New Zealand Diploma in Business

Author: Stewart Wilson

Abstract: This paper reports on a survey of New Zealand Diploma in Business students. Its aims were to investigate why students drop out and to recommend some actions to address attrition at an institutional level. The results found no pre-enrolment demographic or factual characteristics that would differentiate between or predict subsequent retention and withdrawal. The only significant difference between those who withdrew and those who persisted was previous academic success on the programme. The most commonly cited reasons for withdrawal related to personal and financial circumstances. The most significant institutional reason was timetabling. Four forms of withdrawal were identified. As well as dropouts, sizable groups of withdrawn students had transferred to another institution, already achieved their aims, or taken a break from their studies (stop-outs). The findings in this paper suggest that actions centering on academic quality, timetabling, student mentoring, and follow-up of withdrawn students are needed.