Marketing Implications Associated with Non-Returning Students in University Certificate Programs

  • Gordon Thompson University of Saskatchewan


This study examines the attitudes and future plans of students who discontinued their studies in university certificate programs. These non-returning students were separated into three groups: opt-outs, stop-outs, and drop-outs. Two separate surveys were undertaken; one survey consisted of students enrolled in a certificate program offered by the University of Saskatchewan, and the other consisted of students enrolled in several certificate programs offered by the University of Manitoba. The study examined three primary questions:What proportion of non-returning students commenced their certificate studies with the intention of completing the program and earning the certificate?What proportion of non-returning students intend to return to complete their program?What attitudes do these students have toward the certificate program in which they had enrolled?Several findings of special significance are reported. First, approximately one-quarter of the students in this study indicated that they entered their certificate program with no intention of completing the program. Second, a significant proportion of the students in this study indicated an intention to return and complete their certificate program. Finally, respondents indicated a very high level of satisfaction with their university experience despite the discontinuation of their studies. The implications of these findings for the marketing of certificate programs are examined and suggestions for further research are offered.