Student drop-out in the Engineering Sciences. Multi-university analysis and recommendations
At a glance
- A recent acatech STUDY found that although the drop-out rates on engineering science courses are significantly lower than was previously thought, they are still too high.
- The majority of students who drop out or switch universities/subjects do so during the first two semesters.
- Admission restrictions significantly reduce attrition provided that they select students with good Abitur grades. Aptitude assessments are the most effective instrument.
- The legal frameworks in the different federal states also affect successful study completion rates. The more freedom universities have, the lower their attrition rates.
- Universities and policymakers must take coordinated measures and data for multiple universities should be systematically analysed.
- Universities should make wider use of admission restrictions, support students who are just beginning their studies, improve teaching standards and share experiences in these areas.
- Policymakers should afford universities as much freedom as possible to establish their own study conditions and consolidate measures that successfully combat attrition.
The acatech POSITION PAPER Student drop-out in the Engineering Sciences is based on a study of the same name carried out by acatech in conjunction with the T9 and three other universities between 2015 and 2017. Data from several first-year student cohorts (50,171 cases in total) for five engineering science Bachelor’s degrees was analysed in terms of differences with regard to drop-out rates and the number of students who switch universities or subjects. The participating universities were RWTH Aachen University, TU Berlin, TU Braunschweig, TU Darmstadt, TU Dresden, TU Dortmund, University of Duisburg-Essen, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, LU Hannover, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Technical University of Munich and University of Stuttgart. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).