As college tuition rates increase, many students find themselves with two choices: finish school or pay the bills. However, the cost of college is not the only factor involved in students dropping out of school. Many students find it hard to strike the work/life/school balance in a time when job competition is high, housing costs are skyrocketing and school is no longer the only factor to getting a decent job.


A common reason students drop out of college is a lack of money. Unless students have financial help from family or are lucky enough to get scholarships or grants, they are often forced to take out loans or work part- to full-time to pay for school. Often times, it's just not feasible for students to afford the cost of living while completing a college education.

Work/Life Balance

Since colleges usually require a minimum course load, students must often juggle several classes a week on top of jobs, family and other commitments. If a student is not able to rearrange his work schedule to fit with his class schedule, he is usually forced to choose work at the expense of his education. Many students find it difficult to find time to study, work on group projects and research, because they are busy making money to afford basic necessities, or to take care of their families. A student is more likely to drop out -- whether for a semester or permanently -- if he is not able to strike a healthy balance with work, school, social activities and family.

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Job Advancement

In many cases, students who work during college gain promotions to high-paying positions before graduating. If a student is making enough money to live on, it's common for that student to forgo finishing college. School would require him to work fewer hours or give up the chance at a promotion. This is especially the case with students who take internships in college that turn into jobs. Once a student has a position in his field, he may not return to school to finish his degree.


Students drop out of college for many reasons. The decision usually has a lot to do with money and time. Even students who are able to take out loans eventually have to worry about paying them back. Also, most students are not lucky enough to have flexible jobs that allow for schedule changes every semester. While some students who drop out of college eventually return, the majority of them don't ever re-enroll to finish their degrees.

About the Author

Mara Tyler is a writer and public relations consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than eight years of experience, she specializes in health, nutrition, women's lifestyle and marketing. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations.