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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of students dropped out after (a) one year, (b) two years, (c) three years and (d) before the completion of their course in each university in the latest year for which figures are available. [118128]

The available information on the non-continuation of students beyond the first year in each university, and the projected course non-completion rate in each university is contained in "Performance Indicators in Higher Education in the UK" published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, a copy of which is available from the House Library. The latest edition, published in December 2002, gives figures for students starting full-time degree courses in the United Kingdom in 1999/2000. Table 3 shows rates of non-continuation after the first year of study and Table 5 gives drop out rates across the full course.No data are held covering those students who drop out of their course after two or three years.Nationally, the non-completion rate has remained broadly the same at 17–18 per cent, since 1991/92, a period of considerable expansion of student numbers.Figures published in 2002 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that the UK has one of the lowest non-completion rates among OECD countries.