Over 40% of college students said they considered stopping out in six-month period

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Dive Brief:

  • More than 40% of college students considered withdrawing from their programs during a six-month period in 2022, according to a new Gallup and Lumina Foundation survey breaking down mental health problems on campuses.
  • Of those students who mulled stopping out, more than half attributed those musings to emotional stress, including nearly 70% of bachelor’s degree students who considered stopping out.
  • However, in a bright spot, only 14% of students surveyed who contemplated stopping out cited the reason as the spread of COVID-19. This is a much smaller share than in 2020, when almost half of students who thought they might stop out blamed the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

Student mental health was particularly top of mind for colleges as the coronavirus swept the country. Pandemic-induced stressors, economic and otherwise, disadvantaged some students to the point that they stopped out or didn’t enroll in college at all. 

Recent reports confirm mental health problems are still dominant on some college campuses.

The most common reason students who considered stopping out cited was emotional stress, followed by “personal mental health reasons” and then the cost of their degree program.

Gallup and the Lumina Foundation surveyed more than 12,000 U.S. adults online toward the end of October through mid-November. Respondents included a mix of current college students, graduates and those who never enrolled.

The organizations found 40% of current students frequently experienced emotional stress, while nearly a quarter of adults who had stopped out reported the same.

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