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Drop-out Rates Increase for Third Year in a Row

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows student drop-out rates have risen for the third successive year.

The data highlights that 26,000 students in England who began studying for their first degree in 2015 did not make it beyond the first year.

However, rates vary hugely across the sector, with nearly one in five undergraduates leaving by the end of their first year at the worst affected institutions. Meanwhile, less than 1% of students dropped out from Cambridge University, highlighting the dramatic difference between universities.

The number of students deciding not to continue their studies was especially high at London Metropolitan University, where 19.5% of young full-time undergraduates didn't make it past the first year.

Bolton University also reported a high drop-out rate of 17%, while Middlesex University saw 16.4% of its students discontinue their studies.

Other institutions with high drop-out rates include Luton's University of Bedfordshire at 16.4% and the University of Suffolk in Ipswich at 13.5%.

The director for the Higher Education Policy Institute Framework, Nick Hillman, conceded the drop-out rates were "depressing", but stressed rates remained lower than in many other countries.

Commenting on the reason behind the increase, Mr Hillman, said: "We know the higher fees in England have led to lower value for money perceptions among students, so that could be having an effect."

"But my personal hunch is that it is more to do with the extra students that have been recruited in recent years. There are more students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with non-standard qualifications, and some universities have lowered their entry standards."

"Some of these changes are welcome but students from underrepresented groups do need more support than others and they may not always be getting it in full."