Causes and Effects of College Dropout

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 5
Words: 1199
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College


School dropout leads to lack of social integrations, which greatly affects a person’s ability to achieve personal life goals. Schooling is of paramount importance to people’s lives. A good education background is a key contributing factor to getting a good job and hence living a good life. Having the ability to study is an important component to learning efficiently. The number of students dropping out of college in the world is very high. Only 71 percent of the students graduate at the end of their term in the United States (Chirtes, 2010). The main causes of student dropping out of school include poverty and drug and substance abuse.

Causes of college drop out

Poverty is greatly associated with the high alarming rates of school dropout. Family poverty is linked with a number of various situations that include domestic violence, drug abuse and insecurity. A continuous poor academic performance can also contribute greatly to students dropping out of school. This, therefore, results in low self-esteem where the students feel they cannot perform any better. On the other hand, some consider the school to be boring as the teachers focus on just a single thing thus opting to drop out of school.

Unstable family environment is also one of the reasons why students drop out of college. Harsh living conditions and low income can greatly affect a student, academic life. Due to poverty parents are not concerned with their children’s well-being. This makes students not to be serious in their study which in the long run makes them drop out from their institutions. In a situation where a child is brought up by one parent the chances of dropping out of college are high as compared to a child brought up by both parents (Kantrowitz, 2009). Lack of school fees due to poverty is a very major problem for many students. Due to the rate at which the government is increasing college fees, the majority of the students are unable to pay their fees and end up dropping out of college. In order to pay for their college fees, some of the students are required to work on part time jobs. This hinders them from concentrating fully on their studies therefore leading to poor performance as well as damaging their health.

Use and Abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol has a huge effect on the grades of students. Indulging in drugs makes students’ lack energy and interest in school, and this affects their overall performance. In the long run, the drugs can lead to college dropout as well as truancy (Arria & Dupont, 2013). There are various drugs that are available to students and each and every drug affect student’s performance in one way or another. The use of marijuana for instances, causes loss of memory and affects logical thinking as well as problem solving skills. Alcohol, on the other hand, has the greatest impact on the performance, for example, poor class attendance that results in poor grades and finally dropping out. More so, drinking alcohol leads to hangover which results to very many students missing lectures and failing to complete their assignments. Early treatment and intervention is very important so as to prevent long term effects. Peer pressure is also a key factor that contributes to college dropout. The majority of the student may drop out so that they can join a gang or be acknowledged in certain groups (Young, 2009).

Effects of college drop out

There is a growing debt burden as a result of the high number of students dropping out of school. Dropping out of college will make it difficult to pay back the loan because they do not have decent jobs. Currently, governments have incurred huge debt due to the high number of students who default on their college loans. Students who drop from college are more likely to default on the loans compared to those who graduate (Zimmer, 2013). Dropouts also find it difficult on other obligations. For example, credit card payment. Failure to pay the loans makes it difficult for the dropouts to get loans for homes, cars or to go back to school.

The high unemployment rate is another aspect that affects college drop outs. Some students do not see the advantage of graduating since very many graduates are not securing descent jobs. However, this scenario seems to be of no benefit at all. Studies have shown that the unemployment rates of college dropouts are above average rates as compared to graduates (National Dropout Prevention Network, 2014). In America, the unemployment rate for students with a bachelor degree averaged 4.1 percent, while that of college dropout was 9.8 percent. In 2010, college graduates’ salary was 37 percent more than college dropouts (Casselman, 2012). After the 2008 economic recessions, college dropouts were no better than students who had dropped out from high school.

Relationship between causes and effects of school dropout

There is a very huge relationship between the causes of school dropout and their effects on both the student and the government. In most cases dropping out of college means that there is no second chance. Adults who dropped out of school find it extremely difficult to go back to school. This is because the majorities of them lack enough financial resources, and struggle to balance work responsibility with family life. In some situations, returning students are frustrated by colleges that are not willing to credit professional experience while others reject credit transfers. Adults, therefore, end up finding it very difficult to interact with the young generation during lectures (Schoem, 2005). That is why most of the students who go back to college end up dropping out for the second time.

Some college students drop out of college because majority of the people they look up to as their mentors did not complete school, and yet they are doing very well. These are exceptional people who use intelligence, hard work and willpower to make up for the absence of a college degree. Such individuals usually rely on some skills that they had developed even before they joined college. For example, dropping out of college did not stop Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook from becoming a billionaire. Due to this, a number of college students have developed similar conclusion. Some drop from college either to join the information technology industry while others quite so that they can start a business. Others will benefit from family network and acquaintances, those open doors for them. Dropping out of college students may end up being the first step toward a prosperous and meaningful life (Casselman, 2012).


In conclusion, it is no doubt that the rise of college education it is becoming more expensive, especially after the 2008 global recession. Currently the rate of college dropout has gone extremely high due to the high unemployment rate. Many college students, therefore, are in doubt over the worthiness of investing for a college degree. Today’s economy does not guarantee that a successful student who has completed a college degree will have a successful career. More so, governments will continue to incur more debts on college loans because students will continue to drop out due to various reasons.


Arria, A., & DuPont, R. (2013). America’s Drop Out Crisis. Web.

Casselman, B. (2012). The Cost of Dropping Out. Web.

Chirtes, G. (2010). A case study into the causes of school dropout. Web.

Kantrowitz, M. (2009). Why Do Students Drop Out of College? – Fastweb. Web.

National Dropout Prevention Network. (2014). Economic Impacts of Dropouts: National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. Web.

Schoem, D. L. (2005). College Knowledge: 101 Tips for the College-Bound Student. New York: University of Michigan Press.

Young, A. (2013). Why Teens Drop Out:The Westside Writing Project. Web.

Zimmer, R. (2013). The Myth of the Successful College Dropout: Why It Could Make Millions of Young Americans Poorer – Robert J. Zimmer – The Atlantic. Web.