Post-Secondary Education Non-Completion in Ontario - SRDC

Post-Secondary Education Non-Completion in Ontario

Students enrolling in post-secondary programs but not graduating with the initially-intended credential is often portrayed as a policy problem. It is seen as costly; costly to government as they invest heavily in post-secondary education (PSE); costly for students who discontinue their own education and do not reap the benefits associated with a credential; and costly to the economy in the form of net lower skills in the workforce, a weaker match between the individual and the labour market, and even reduced participation, all yielding lower earnings.

To inform the policy conversation in Ontario related to the costs of non-completion, SRDC is working to build a more nuanced understanding of non-completer pathways and their outcomes, placed in the context of the outcomes of graduates.

Our work intends to answer the following four questions: What is systemwide non-completion and the rate of non-completion in Ontario? What are the characteristics of different types of non-completers, and how do they compare to students who “complete” PSE? What are the labour market outcomes of non-completers, and how do they vary across types and available learner characteristics? and How do labour market outcomes of non-completers compare to students with different PSE pathways? We use the Education and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform (ELMLP) that links post-secondary enrolment data to tax records nationally. Several studies have investigated the outcomes of PSE graduates using the ELMLP, but very few to date have explored non-completion and non-completers’ labour market outcomes.

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