The consequences of academic dismissal for academic success

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 (Formula presented.) 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
Pages (from-to)2175-2189
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number11
Early online date30 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the University of Amsterdam for making available the data on academic dismissal for the cohorts considered in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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


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