The role of human capital has been widely discussed in the literature, and empirical evidence of a positive relationship between quantitative (years of studying) and qualitative (knowledge acquired) education measures and earnings has been widely demonstrated. 1 Individuals with a tertiary level of education have a greater chance of finding a job, 2 a lower unemployment rate, 3 a higher possibility of having a full-time contract, 4 and earn more 5 than those who do not have a university degree (OECD 2011). However, in recent decades, the problem of interrupted careers has become a growing concern, given that a substantial number of students enter the higher education system and leave without at least a first degree; 6 according to Lambert and Butler (2006),

high drop-out rates are a sign either that the university system is not meeting the needs of its students, or that young people are using universities as a convenient place to pass a year or two before getting on with their lives. In a mass access system with no selection and high youth unemployment rates, it may be quite rational for a student to sit around for a year or two before dropping out. But this is hardly an efficient use of public resources.