The Student Retention Study

The Student Retention Study: understanding mechanisms underlying student dropout (contemplation)

Dropping out of a higher education program is often undertaken after a long process of deliberation. Several experiences in a student’s journey through the academic and social realms of university may factor into that process; among those, experiences of ‘othering’ can cause the feeling of not fitting in and influence the decision to drop out. Our approach to this phenomenon is rooted in intersectionality; an understanding of categories of difference, or identity, constructed through socio-political processes that include or exclude.

With the cooperation of Bachelor programmes and staff members at FASOS and FHML, and funded by the Diversity & Inclusivity Office, we are working to gather data to improve Maastricht University’s understanding of this topic. Our study seeks to understand trajectories that lead to dropout and what mechanisms, such as ‘othering’, influence the decision-making process surrounding dropping out.

The intent behind this research is to improve the well-being and attainmentof students with diverse backgrounds, enabling them to stay, mature, and contribute. This study is, therefore, an important steppingstone to integrate standards of inclusivity with the diversity and internationalisation that characterise Maastricht University.

Has dropping out of your bachelor study ever crossed your mind?

How can you contribute? 

We would like to invite a diverse group of current Medicine (Dutch + International tracks) and BA European Studies students who are facing challenges in their studies and have (previously) considered dropping out, or who have recently left these programs, to discuss their experiences, and what changes they might like to see at UM.

Your participation will consist of: a semi-structured individual interview (1 hour) to reflect on personal experiences, and (optional) a focus group to discuss recommendations in view of enhancing the retention of a diverse student population.

Interested? Fill in our form to be contacted with more information about your participation (click on the orange box). 

If you have questions about the project or want to know more about your participation, please reach out to Virginie Bakeroot (

For your contribution to this study, you will receive a gift voucher worth €10!
Fill in the form
Picture of  research group

Anja Krumeich is a full professor of Translational Ethnographies in Global Health and former director of the Global Health program (FHML).

Lauren Wagner (PI) is associate professor and programme director of the Globalisation & Development MA (FASoS).

Albertine Zanting is a researcher on diversity in medical education at FHML, chair of the FHML Taskforce Internationalisation, and member of the Advisory Committee on Diversity & Inclusivity.

Virginie Bakeroot (assistant) is a graduate of the Global Health program, specialised in qualitative research methods.

Ethical Approval

Our study has been approved by the Ethical Review Committee Inner City Faculties (ERCIC_344_24_03_2022). All your provided data will be treated confidentially. Following the sign up button does not indicate any commitment to participate. You can decide whether and to what extent to participate at any moment, without consequences and without having to give a reason.