Investigating the impact of postgraduate student drop-out rates at a higher education institute
Universities in South Africa are obliged to adhere to the South African National Planning Commission’s National Development Plan (NDP) by assisting students financially in order to complete their studies. Despite complying, universities experience high volumes of students who drop out at postgraduate level of studies after receiving university-funded bursaries. The objective of this study is on evaluating the financial impact caused by postgraduate students who drop out after receiving university-funded bursaries. Several variables are evaluated in order to understand the impact of these student dropouts. A literature study was conducted to obtain insight into the South African higher education environment, and to highlight the challenges faced by both universities and students. The empirical study conducted focused on the financial impact caused by the postgraduate student dropout rate notwithstanding their receiving university-funded bursaries. It also addresses the variances per demography and the relation to the allocation of these university bursaries. The findings from the empirical study show that a large sum of university-funded bursary money is lost due to students that drop out after receiving bursaries. In conclusion, universities need to address the recovery processes of bursary money from dropout student as well as the poor completion rates on postgraduate level.