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University student retention: where pedagogy and economy converge

Grant number: 17/24909-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2018
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Fundamentals of Education
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Maria Cristina da Silveira Galan Fernandes
Grantee:Hellen Cristina Xavier da Silva Mattos
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The issue of university student retention has gained increasing attention in Brazil since the implementation of policies targeting the democratization of higher education - such as Law 12.711/2012, which regulates the reservation of student slots in federal higher education institutions for students from public high schools. With these changes, the National Program for Student Assistance has expanded to better assist a growing number of socioeconomically vulnerable university students and federal universities have developed grant-aid programmes in order to economically support them. However, in our previous studies, students reported that the major obstacle for staying in university is the cultural gap between students from different social classes and lack of study skills - pedagogically-based obstacles that have been under addressed in comparison to the student's financial needs. The present master proposal aims to analyze the programme for student retention developed by the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) (and described in the Tutoring Program of this institution) having both pedagogical and economic factors into account. We will explore the pedagogical and economic dimensions of the difficulties that undergraduate students face and investigate the impact that institutional programmes have on the student's university retention, adaptive strategies, and development of scientific skills. This research will be qualitative in nature, collecting data through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with students and tutors from the Tutoring Program. The data will be tabulated and categorized based on content analysis. We will discuss the results in light of the current research on university student retention and the theoretical contributions of Pierre Bourdieu and Bernard Lahire, who analyzed the influence of family and social factors on academic performance and success. All in all, our results can potentially show how pedagogical and cultural factors, in connection with economic factors, are relevant for university student retention. (AU)

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