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Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the completion rate for degrees was in each academic year since 1997; [104703](2) what the completion rate was for students from

(a) I Professional, (b) II Intermediate, (c) IIIN Skilled Non-Manual, (d) IIIM Skilled Manual, (e) IV Semiskilled Manual, (f) V Unskilled and (g) unknown socio-economic backgrounds at universities in England in each academic year since 1997; [104708]

(3) what the (a) initial entry rate, (b) drop-out rate and (c) participation rate for higher education institutions in England was in each academic year since 1997. [104707]

Information on completion and non-completion rates of HE students is published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in "Performance Indicators in Higher Education (HE)". The latest available data are shown in the first table as follows. HEFCE do not calculate these figures by social class. Figures published in 2002 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that the UK as a whole has one of the lowest non-completion rates among OECD countries.The second table as follows shows the latest available figures for the Initial Entry Rate (IER) and Age Participation Index (API). Historically, the API has been the standard measure of participation in HE; the IER has been developed recently to monitor progress towards the Government's goal of 50 per cent. participation in HE by 2010. The IER differs from the API in both coverage and method of calculation. The API calculates the proportion of UK domiciled students who enter full-time HE by the age of 20: the IER calculates the proportion of English domiciled students who enter full or part-time HE courses, lasting at least one year, by the age of 30. The API is expressed as a percentage of the averaged 18 to 19-year-old population; the IER sums the percentages of each single year of the 18–30 age group.

Projected learning outcomes—full-time students starting first degree courses in HE institutions in the UK
Projected outcomes1
Students starting in:Obtained degreeObtained no qualificationOther2
1 The projected outcomes are calculated on the assumption that the progression paths of new entrants will be the same as those for students currently in the system.
2 Includes students who obtain undergraduate qualifications other than a degree (eg an HND).
The Age Participation Index (API) and Initial Entry Rate (IER)
1 The API is defined as the number of young (under 21) UK domiciled initial entrants to full-time and sandwich undergraduate courses, expressed as a percentage of the averaged 18 to 19-year-old population.
2 The IER is the number of English domiciled initial entrants who enter full or part-time HE courses, lasting at least one year, by the age of 30, expressed as a percentage of the relevant 18–30 age group.