ACT Withdrawing/Non-Returning Student Survey - 2009

Executive Summary:

Sue Erickson
Carmen Williams
Office of Institutional Research
March 2010

The purpose of a withdrawing/non-returning survey is to assess why students leave the university before completing graduation. Per a state accountability requirement, NDUS institutions administer the ACT Withdrawing/Non-Returning Student Survey. The survey was mailed to a random sample of 500 students who were enrolled in fall 2008 but did not return for fall 2009. Overall, a 14% response rate was attained.

The Withdrawing/Non-returning Student Survey collects demographic information and asks respondents to indicate whether 48 different items played a part in their decision to not return to UND. These 48 items are then grouped into five reason categories: personal (19 reasons), academic (7 reasons), institutional (10 reasons), financial (8 reasons), and employment (4 reasons). The items ranked highest of reasons for leaving UND are:

  • “ Decided to attend a different college ” is the top overall reason for 87% of respondents not returning to UND and is also the top personal reason for leaving. 72% indicated this is a “ major ” reason for not returning to UND.
  • “ Disappointment with the quality of instruction ” is the primary academic reason for leaving UND, with 36% of respondents indicating this is a reason for not returning; 17% indicate this is a “ majo r” reason.
  • “ Academic advising was inadequate ” is the top institutional reason for not returning to UND, with 32% of respondents indicating advising played a part in their decision to not return; 22% said inadequate advising was a “ major” reason.
  • “ Tuition and fees were more than I could afford ” is the top financial reason for leaving UND. One-fifth of respondents (21%) say this was a reason, with 8% saying it is a “ major ” reason.
  • Less than ten percent of respondents report employment reasons for leaving UND; just 4% state “Accepted a full-time job” being a “ major ” reason for not returning.


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