Factors influencing the demand for higher education: The case of Cyprus

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The proportion of young people opting for third level education in Cyprus is exceptionally high, currently about 60% of the relevant age group. This has caused concern among the country's policy makers who are aware of the limited capacity of the Cyprus economy to accommodate the increasing supply of higher education graduates. In the present study, an attempt is made to identify and examine the factors influencing young Cypriots to select higher education over direct employment at the end of their secondary education. A survey was conducted among 811 final form secondary school students in Cyprus in the academic year 1993/1994. Through factor analysis, seven factors with a potential effect on the students' educational and occupational intentions were identified. They were the following: Psychological/Individual, Occupational I, Occupational II, Economic, Consumption, Secondary School Subjects, and Significant Others. These factors, along with a number of student background characteristics (gender, socioeconomic status, ability, and secondary school specialisation) were used as explanatory variables in a logistic regression model with the student's educational intentions serving as the dependent variable. The psychological/individual factor, the second occupational factor, and secondary school specialisation were shown to have a significant effect on the intention to pursue third level education. The paper points to the importance of analysing and examining student characteristics and motivational patterns in the effort to understand, and, if possible, influence trends in the demand for higher education.

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