More Canadian students plan to drop out: survey

A new survey has found that while two in five students are seriously considering dropping out, there is also a wave of optimism about the future.

The 2022 Canadian Student Well-Being Study, independently conducted by Angus Reid and commissioned by education company Studiosity, recently examined Canadian post-secondary students’ current stress levels, ideas about dropping out and future prospects.

The study included 1,014 participating students surveyed online between March 10 and March 24, with domestic students making up 89% of the cohort and international students the remaining 11%.

In the survey, 62% of students aged 18 to 21 said they felt stressed about studies or daily school work. The number has dropped significantly for 22-year-olds, with just 48 per cent feeling the same.

Half of students said better access to financial aid would help them deal with their stress levels. The survey also found that fewer students want a return to in-person classes compared to 2021.

“Free college so I don’t have to worry about putting my family in massive debt in the future. Or grants for parents,” one student said in their survey responses.

Student debt in Canada in 2022 stands at $18 billion, and the average student debtor owes at least $28,000, according to Statistics Canada.

The study also found that domestic students in Canada reported higher levels of stress than international students, outperforming them in most variables, including balancing school and social commitments.


Forty percent of students said they were seriously considering dropping out of college. That’s a 5% increase from 2021.

The survey found that students in Ontario were primarily responsible for this number. In Ontario, this cohort represented 41% of students, up nine points from 2021.

There was also a dramatic shift in age preference. Almost half of students (47%) aged 18-19 said they were seriously considering dropping out of their institutions, up from 29% in 2021.

Full-time students were also more likely to drop out, according to the survey. Thirty-eight percent of students said they are considering it, up seven points from 2021.


According to the survey, 64% of students say they are optimistic about their job after college or university.

Forty-four percent of this group described themselves as “somewhat optimistic”, while 20% said they were “very optimistic”.

Many students said in their comments that they expected more co-op and internship opportunities from their institution and were optimistic that these opportunities could lead them to more permanent jobs.

“It is heartening to see that a large majority of students still feel optimistic about their future, up modestly from 2021,” said Judyth Sachs, director of studies at Studiosity, in a statement last week.

“It is a testament to universities focusing on student safety and well-being during some of the most difficult years, allowing students to feel supported and heard throughout the challenges of the pandemic. “

The survey revealed a clear gap between students who are already working full-time or part-time

compared to those who are not. Seventy-one percent and 65 percent of the two groups respectively said they were optimistic about their future employment opportunities.

According to the survey, unemployed students are twice as likely to be pessimistic about future job opportunities.