Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Thoughts of Deferring or Discontinuing Studies

Annually, the UCount Survey asks undergraduates through taught masters students if they have thought about deferring or discontinuing their studies.

In 2019, 27% of respondents had considered deferral or discontinuation, in 2020, the number spiked up to 37% (the COVID effect), and in 2021, 32% report considering leaving. 

When a respondent indicates having considered leaving, they are directed to a set of questions that ask what has contributed to these thoughts (e.g. whānau commitments, enrolment difficulties, a concern that they are not suited to university study, etc.).

To help better understand from a longitudinal perspective what might be driving students’ consideration of leaving, Ako Marake | Evaluation & Student Insights have developed a new trendline page on the UC Student Experience Dashboard (“Discontinue/Defer Trends”). See below screenshot below:

screenshot of UC data dashboard of example trendlines from 2019 to 2021 of what students who have considered leaving indicate as reasons why

Users can also still use the slicers in the slicer panel to the left; maybe you are interested in a specific demographic of student, or students in a particular subject area.

This new page allows high-level insight into what might be driving students to leave UC.

Further analysis will be performed, but in the meantime, check out the new page in the dashboard here!

Additionally, all staff can access the whole suite of UC Data Dashboards here.

For any questions, or if you would like ESI to come to speak to you or your team about these data, please email Ellie Kay and Elyse Thompson at