Factors Influencing Physician Assistant Student Attrition Rates

J Physician Assist Educ. 2022 Dec 1;33(4):341-345. doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000468.


Introduction: The aim of this study was to assess factors that influence student well-being and attrition and to compare faculty perceptions to the realities of student experience.

Methods: Three anonymous online surveys were distributed, one for each group of currently enrolled students, faculty/staff, and attritted students.

Results: Faculty estimated that an average of 12.8% of PA students in their program have considered dropping out in the past 6 months, while 22.9% of students self-reported considering dropping out in the past 6 months. The most frequently cited factors for considering dropping out were mental health and lack of connection to the program. Mental health was the highest cited reason for having taken or having considered taking a leave of absence.

Discussion: Faculty perceptions in this study were incongruent with the actual situations of their students. Mental health issues and a lack of connection to programs were the largest influencers of attrition.

MeSH terms

  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Physician Assistants* / education
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires