Full-time students who live at home and attend a local university are more likely to drop out than those who move away, say researchers at the universities of Cardiff and Lancaster.
Bob McNabb of Cardiff Business School, who conducted the research with Geraint Jones of Lancaster University, said: "One reason may be finance: if you don't have the money to go away to university in the first place, perhaps when you hit financial difficulties during your studies you can't afford to continue."
The research was based on more than 100,000 students who were to graduate from the old universities in 1993 - prior to the introduction of tuition fees and the phasing out of maintenance grants.
Since the new financial arrangements were introduced, students are more likely to study locally, according to Professor McNabb.
"There has been some political pressure in recent years... encouraging students to stay at home to cut costs. But earlier findings suggest that students who do so may suffer through higher attrition rates and lower rates of success in obtaining good degrees. In the present study, we found that living away from the parental home does reduce the attrition propensity," stated the research paper.
Earlier work on the same students found that men from regions with high unemployment were more likely to drop out than those from more affluent areas.
Statistics published by the funding councils last year showed that drop-out rates varied widely between institutions. Overall, some 18 per cent of full time degree students failed to complete courses.