One in six students in the higher education system is failing to progress past their first year, new figures show.
The Irish Times has obtained figure from third-level institutions which, for the first time, show individual progression rates for each course between 2014 and 2015.
In general, university courses tend to have the highest retention rates, while higher certificate and ordinary degree courses in institutes of technology have the lowest.
Colleges say that the figures can be misleading, however. Not all students in third-level courses progress directly from year one to year two in the same course.
Some may have changed or transferred courses, while others may have deferred or taken a year out.
In addition, the percentage progression rates for courses may be distorted by small numbers of students.