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Obtaining a postsecondary education credential is an investment worth making because of clear benefits at both the individual and societal levels. However, a failed attempt at obtaining this level of education has costs to both the individual and the society. Therefore, understanding the process of obtaining postsecondary education is important.

This report introduced a new way of examining the process of dropping out in order to identify inefficiencies. Unlike previous analyses of dropouts, it captured the failed attempts in obtaining credentials despite of graduation. This method captured well over 100,000 failed attempts that would have been unaccounted for with previous methodology.

The report presented a detailed profile of dropouts and graduates from different types of postsecondary education institutions. Consistently, some individual, family and educational characteristics were found to be associated with higher rates of postsecondary education dropouts.

The multivariate analyses confirmed that when controlling for numerous variables, certain characteristics were repeatedly associated with higher or lower chances of dropping out for all types of postsecondary education. Among key characteristics frequently associated with dropping out of any type of postsecondary education were: being male, short homework time in high school, a dropout episode in high school, and being a resident of Quebec, British Columbia or Alberta. Associated with lower probabilities were: having a student loan, reporting good grades in high school and having parents who completed postsecondary education.