Progress of studies

Updated: 12 Mar 2021
Next update: 12 Mar 2022

The indicator describes how new entrants to university education progress in their studies up to the attainment of a qualification or degree. The statistics contain data on started education, duration of education, change of education, and on what students have done if they have discontinued education. Data on the progress of university studies have been produced at intervals of a fixed number of years since the 1980s and the 1990s.

For the development of society and the vitality of working life, it is important that students receive support to complete their studies and, after graduation, to make as natural and flexible a transition into work as possible. In order to function, society needs an extensive working population, because the level of the employment rate has a direct impact on the balance of public finances and the stability of the economic dependency ratio. Problems are accentuated as the population ages.

The progress and possible prolongation of studies are influenced by social and financial factors as well as future employment prospects. With respect to employment, it is important that students receive work experience during their studies and have opportunities to work alongside their studies. At the same time, however, society must be able to safeguard students’ livelihood by supporting them with financial and other social benefits. In addition, the public sector must bring studying and working life closer together through labour and social policy measures. Fewer and fewer people are graduating for one specific job, and this presents challenges for acquiring the right education and expertise as well as the workplace skills suitable for the jobs available.


Sixty-seven per cent of university students completed a higher or lower university degree in at most five-and-a-half years. The older the cohort of new students is examined, the higher the pass rate became: 74 per cent of students completed a higher or lower university degree in at most seven-and-a-half years.

As in university of applied sciences education, there were large differences between sexes in completing university education. Sixty per cent of male students and 72 per cent of female students had completed a higher or lower university degree in five-and-a-half years, so the difference between sexes in pass rates was 12 per cent. In at most seven-and-a-half years, 79 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men completed university education.