In 1964 Rousseff left the conservative Colégio Sion and joined the Central State High School, a mixed sex public school where the students would usually make a great stir against the dictatorship established after the military coup. According to Rousseff, it was in this school that she became aware of the political situation of her country, getting "very subversive" and realizing that "the world was not a place for débutantes."
Rousseff entered the Minas Gerais Federal University School of Economics in 1964. But because of her guerrilla activity Rousseff was expelled from the Minas Gerais Federal University and barred from resuming her studies at that university in 1973. She decided to attend a preparatory course in order to take the vestibular test for Economics at the Rio Grande do Sul Federal University. She was admitted in the university and graduated in 1977.