297.3 Challenges related of retention and professionalization of lower-income students in higher education in Brazil: The case of students at a private university

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 1:00 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Manoel ALMEIDA NETO , Social Sciences Department, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
In Brazil, in just over 30 years, and especially from the 90s after the sanction of the Law of Guidelines and Bases of Education (1996), which accelerated the expansion and the consequent increase in the number of vacancies, the Brazilian high education system has been through a series of changes, with the incorporation of students from lower socioeconomic strata, many of them older and already integrated into the labor market. Despite this expansion, the enrollment net rate of higher education in Brazil, that is, between 18 and 24 years old who attend undergraduate courses, is only 15%, one of the lowest in Latin America, despite the goal of the National Education Plan of 2000 to raise this percentage to 30% in 2010.

The need to review the strategies of graduate programs to provide an effective inclusion of these new students in higher education in Brazil and thus ensure their stay in school and so later on, a qualified insertion in the labor market, is what motivated the research that led to this paper.

Our paper is based on the results of research being carried out since 2008 and has, as main base, the database pertaining to socio-economic information, retention and dropout, academic performance, access to scholarships and paid undergraduates activities, internship and extent of all 688 students (most of them from families with incomes up to 5 minimum wages) that attended the course in Social Science from a private university of Minas Gerais, Brazil, from 2003 until the first half of 2009. By crossing and analysis of these data, we established a relationship between the socio-economic profile and the participation in paid research activities, internship and extent with increased chances of retention, improved school performance and employability of students, especially the poorest.