The consequences of academic dismissal for academic success

Ilja Cornelisz, Rolf van der Velden, Inge de Wolf, Chris van Klaveren

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Academic dismissal policies are increasingly implemented to promote academic success, with existing empirical evidence mostly restricted to short-run outcomes. This study examines long-term academic outcomes of academic dismissal for two cohorts of first-year bachelor students in Economics and Business at a Dutch university. Using administrative records, regression discontinuity design estimates suggest that academic dismissal does not relate to a difference in the propensity of graduation, nor to a change in study delay, when comparing students around the academic dismissal threshold. Not meeting this credit-threshold forces students to leave, and most decide to re-enroll in the same (43.4%) program elsewhere or at least within the academic domain (41.9%). Thus, while academic dismissal forces students to switch, its intended purpose of redirecting students to a different field of study is not observed. Implications for why academic dismissal might not deliver on the intended efficiency or effectiveness gains are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2019


  • Academic dismissal
  • higher education
  • educational attainment
  • student graduation

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