Skip to main content

Higher Education

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research he has assessed into the relative likelihood of students from disadvantaged backgrounds prematurely reducing their level of participation within higher education courses by dropping out of courses or by forgoing the opportunity to progress to more advanced courses; and if he will make a statement. [118146]

A number of research studies have explored the factors associated with students dropping out of higher education. Although the evidence is mixed, there is some evidence that those from lower social classes are more likely to drop out. The evidence also shows, however, that non-completion is a complex process that cannot normally be explained by any single factor. Significant factors (many of which are interrelated) include:

  • incompatibility between the student and their course or institution;
  • lack of preparation for higher education;
  • lack of commitment to the course;
  • level of prior attainment;
  • financial hardship;
  • poor academic progress;
  • health or other personal reasons;
  • age;
  • gender; and
  • whether or not the individual applied through clearing.
Studies in this area include:

  • (i) "Right Choice? A follow up to 'Making the Right Choice"" by Connor H, Pearson R, Pollard E, Tyers C, Willison R. Universities UK 2001, available from http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/pubs/report.php?id = 1427uuk
  • (ii) "Effects of in-class variation and student rank on the probability of withdrawal: cross-section and time-series analysis for UK university students", by Arulampalam, W. Naylor, R.A. and Smith, J., presented at the Royal Economic Society Conference at the University of Warwick in March 2002. It can be downloaded from http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/ fac/economics/staff/faculty/naylor/publications/
  • (iii) "Dropping Out: A study of early leavers from Higher Education" by Rhys Davies and Peter Elias, DfES Research Report 386 available from http://www dfes.qov.uk/research/
  • (iv) "Higher Education: Student Retention" a report made by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to the House of Commons Education and Employment Committee, found at http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200001/cmselect/cmeduemp/124/12402.htm
  • Applicants accepted through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND study from Shropshire local education authority by previous educational establishment

    Year of entry

    Acceptances

    1997

    1

    1998

    1999

    2000

    2001

    2002

    percentage change, 1998 to 2002

    Numbers
    Maintained244033736333236540219.3
    Independent217207208208171197-4.8
    Further education1,1777467737748417612.0
    Other15891927910070-23.1
    Not known208140183220261260n/a
    Total2,2001,5211,6191,6131,7381,69011.1

    Percentage change each year

    Further education

    3n/a

    1n/a

    3.60.28.7-9.5n/a
    All establishments

    3n/a

    1n/a

    6.4-0.47.7-2.8n/a

    1 In 1998, 'Shropshire' local education authority split into 'Shropshire' and 'The Wrekin'. As a result, there is a drop in numbers as some of the establishments took pupils who were residing in 'The Wrekin'. Hence, figures from 1997 and 1998 are not comparable.

    2 Maintained includes comprehensive, grammar, sixth form centre and other maintained.

    3 The percentage increase from 1996 to 1997 is not available.

    Source:

    UCAS.

    The number of applicants accepted through UCAS from Shropshire, from further education establishments to higher education, rose by 2.0 per cent. between 1998 and 2002. For all accepted applicants from Shropshire the figure was 11.1 per cent.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of students from (a) professional, (b) manual trades and (c) unskilled

    The Government are committed to raising the participation rates for people from less affluent backgrounds, and have introduced the Excellence Challenge, including the AimHigher campaign, which is targeted at raising attainment and aspirations among young people who traditionally would not consider going to university.

    HEFCE has allocated £265 million to higher education institutions in 2003–04 for widening access and improving retention. This figure recognises the additional costs of supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds and thereby increases the likelihood that they will complete their courses successfully.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the percentage change in further education students taking up places in higher education was in each year since 1997 in (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (b) Shropshire; [119387](2) how many further education students took up places in higher education in

    (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (b) Shropshire in each year since 1997. [119388]

    The available information shows the previous educational establishments of applicants accepted through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to full-time first degree and HND courses at UK higher education institutions. The figures for Shropshire are in the table. Corresponding information for Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency is not held centrally.backgrounds in (i) Shrewsbury and Atcham, (ii) Shropshire and (iii) England took up places at university in 2002. [119389]

    The Department only holds participation rates broken down by social class at national level.

    The available information relates to the Age Participation Index (API) by social class. The API calculates the proportion of UK domiciled students who enter full-time HE by the age of 20 and is expressed as a percentage of the averaged 18-19 year old population.

    The most recent information, for 2001/02 is in the table.

    Age Participation Index (API) by the social class, 2001/02

    Percentage

    Social class

    2001

    I Professional79
    II Intermediate50
    IIIn Skilled non-manual33
    IIIm Skilled manual21
    IV Partly skilled18
    V Unskilled15
    I-IIIn50
    IIIm-V19
    Total35

    The Government are committed to raising the participation rates for people from less affluent backgrounds, and have introduced the AimHigher campaign, which is targeted at raising attainment and aspirations among young people who traditionally would not consider going to university.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent (a) qualitative and (b) quantitive analysis has been made of the (i) barriers to entry to higher education and (ii) reasons for withdrawal from higher education before successful completion of a course of study in relation to the different socio-economic background of students. [121755]

    The Youth Cohort Study shows that around nine in 10 young people who achieve two or more A-levels by 18 progress to Higher Education by the time they are 21. Differences in participation rates between different social class groups largely reflect differences in prior attainment.Research published by the Department in 2001 ("Social Class and Higher Education: Issues Affecting Participation by Lower Social Class groups" Connor, H.

    et al DfEE Research Report No. 246) looked at the factors affecting participation in HE by different social class groups. It found that among those who were qualified to enter higher education but had decided against going the main reasons were because they wanted to start work, because they did not need a higher education qualification for their chosen career or because of the expected costs involved. Other research into the factors affecting participation by different social class groups includes:

    UCAS (2002) "Paving the Way. Project Report. Informing change in higher education and progression partnerships with the voice of the under-represented"
    NAO "Widening participation in higher education in England. Report by the comptroller and auditor general" HC 485 Session 2001–2002 18 January 2002.
    Forsyth, A. and Furlong, A. (2000) "Socioeconomic disadvantage and access to higher education" Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    Archer, L. (2001) "Social Class and Access to Higher Education. A Report on findings from the Social Class and Widening Participation to HE Project" University of North London. Occasional paper.

    A number of research studies have explored the factors associated with students dropping out of higher education. The evidence shows that non-completion is a complex process that cannot normally be explained by any single factor. The evidence is mixed, but there is some evidence that those from lower social classes are more likely to drop out but that this seems to be largely due to other factors linked to non-completion, including:

    • levels of prior attainment;
    • incompatibility between the student and their course or institution;
    • lack of preparation for higher education;
    • lack of commitment to the course;
    • financial hardship; and
    • poor academic progress.

    Research which explores the causes of non-completion includes:

    'Right Choice?' A follow up to 'Making the Right Choice' by Connor H, Pearson R, Pollard E, Tyers C, Willison R. Universities UK 2001
    'Effects of in-class variation and student rank on the probability of withdrawal: cross-section and time-series analysis for UK university students', by Arulampalam, W. Naylor, R.A. and Smith, J., presented at the Royal Economic Society Conference at the University of Warwick in March 2002.
    'Dropping Out: A study of early leavers from Higher Education' by Rhys Davies and Peter Elias, DIES Research Report 386
    'Higher Education: Student Retention' a report made by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to the House of Commons Education and Employment Committee.

    The Government are committed to raising the participation rates for people from less affluent backgrounds. By the end of the decade they want to move towards half of all 18-30 year olds participating in HE, but within that target they are committed to ensuring that all those who can benefit from HE will be willing and able to do so, regardless of their background. 'Aimhigher' is the brand name for a range of initiatives through which Government and their key partners aim to widen participation in HE. HEFCE has allocated £265 million to higher education institutions in 2003–04 for widening access and improving retention. This figure recognises the additional costs of supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds and thereby increases the likelihood that they will complete their courses successfully.

    Government have listened to those who say that people from poorer backgrounds need additional incentives and financial help to continue in full-time education. We will continue to provide a tuition fee remission grant and. from autumn 2004, full-time HE students with parents on the lowest incomes will be eligible for a new HE Grant of up to £1,000 a year for living costs. No student or parent will have to pay any up-front tuition fee—they can defer paying these until after they graduate. We are also raising the level of repayment from £10,000 to £15,000 to reduce the levels of repayment for all graduates.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many 18-20 year olds entered higher education in each year since 1990 in (a) each local education authority and (b) England; [122980](2) what proportion of 18-20 year olds entered higher education in each year since 1990 in

    (a) each local education authority and (b) England. [122981]

    The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

    Age Participation Index (API) by social class, 1991–2001
    Year of entry
    19911992199319941995199619971998199920002001
    I Professional5571737880827972737679
    II Intermediate3639424546474845454850
    IIIn Skilled non-manual2227293131323129303333
    IIIm Skilled manual1115171818181918181921
    IV Partly skilled1214161717171817171918
    V Unskilled69111112131413131415
    I-IIIn3540434647484845454850
    IIIm-V1114161717181817171819
    Total2328303232333331323335
    The Government are committed to raising the participation rates for people from less affluent backgrounds, and have introduced the AimHigher campaign, which is targeted at raising attainment and aspirations among young people who traditionally would not consider going to university.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of 18-year-olds applied for entry to higher education in each year since 1996 in (a) the UK, (b) each English Government office region and (c) each education authority in the North East Government office region. [125630]

    [holding answer 14 July 2003]: The available information is from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and covers those aged 18, applying for full-time first degree and HMD courses at UK Higher Education Institutions. The relevant details are shown in the table.

    Autumn 1996 entry
    17-year-old population in 199518-year-old applicantsProportion (percentage)
    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK
    UK667,593167,13125.0
    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by Government office region of domicile
    Government office region
    Eastern59,57615,82126.6
    East Midlands47,14111,36924.1
    Greater London72,65519,18826.4
    Merseyside16,7763,85723.0
    North East30,2246,61021.9
    North West63,00615,62824.8
    South East90,23325,81128.6
    South West53,74114,22226.5

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the higher education participation rate of 18-20 year olds, broken down according to family income quintiles and deciles was in each year since 1990. [122985]

    The Department does not hold information broken down by family income. The available information relates to the Age Participation Index (API) by social class. The API calculates the proportion of UK domiciled students who enter full-time HE by the age of 20 and is expressed as a percentage of the averaged 18-19 year old population.The available information is in the table.

    Autumn 1996 entry
    17-year-old population in 199518-year-old applicantsProportion (percentage)
    West Midlands61,47014,96124.3
    Yorkshire56,47212,75322.6
    England551,294140,22025.4
    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by local education authority of domicile
    Region
    Cleveland16,9941,57122.5
    Hartlepool1
    Middlesbrough1
    Redcar and Cleveland1
    Stockton on Tees1
    Durham17,0411,43620.4
    Darlington1
    Northumberland3,74899826.6
    Gateshead2,16930614.1
    Newcastle upon Tyne2,86976026.5
    North Tyneside2,13444821.0
    South Tyneside1,74932018.3
    Sunderland3,52074721.2
    Tyne and Wear unknown24
    England30,2246,61021.9
    Autumn 1997 entry
    17-year-old population in 199618-year-old applicantsProportion (percentage)
    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18,applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK
    UK726,736182,03525.0
    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by Government office region of domicile
    Government office region
    Eastern65,02217,04126.2
    East Midlands51,26212,36724.1
    Greater London78,62220,89526.6
    Merseyside18,3674,38123.9
    Autumn 1997 entry
    17-year-old population in 199618-year-old applicantsProportion (percentage)
    North East33,8377,14721.1
    North West68,61716,79824.5
    South East98,01127,98828.6
    South West58,36815,35726.3
    West Midlands67,23015,99923.8
    Yorkshire61,74214,39723.3
    England601,078152,37025.3
    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by local education authority of domicile
    Region
    Cleveland1
    Hartlepool11,24321317.1
    Middlesbrough12,07933516.1
    Redcar and Cleveland11,88842022.2
    Stockton on Tees12,52655822.1
    Durham16,5871,47022.3
    Darlington11,26424419.3
    Northumberland4,1281,23429.9
    Gateshead2,49527811.1
    Newcastle upon Tyne3,20963519.8
    North Tyneside2,42060725.1
    South Tyneside2,02638819.1
    Sunderland3,97170617.8
    Tyne and Wear unknown59
    England33,8377,14721.1
    Autumn 1998 entry
    17-year-old population in 199718-year-old applicantsProportion (percentage)
    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK
    UK747,354184,47024.7
    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by Government office region of domicile
    Government office region
    Eastern66,44517,38126.2
    East Midlands53,26412,75523.9
    Greater London81,84621,60726.4
    Merseyside18,5594,38023.6
    North East34,5457,43021.5
    North West70,65117,49224.8
    South East101,30327,58527.2
    South West60,36615,41625.5
    West Midlands69,16316,66924.1
    Yorkshire63,55914,14922.3
    England619,702154,86425.0
    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by local education authority of domicile
    Region
    Cleveland1
    Hartlepool11,21624620.2
    Middlesbrough12,14937317.4
    Redcar and Cleveland12,00339519.7
    Stockton on Tees12,54059323.3
    Durham16,6311,34120.2
    Darlington11,31828621.7
    Northumberland4,3361,24828.8
    Gateshead2,54754621.4
    Newcastle upon Tyne3,29271721.8
    North Tyneside2,55961324.0
    South Tyneside2,02137118.4
    Sunderland3,93370117.8
    Tyne and Wear unknown
    England34,5457,43021.5

    Autumn 1999 entry

    17-year-old population in 1998

    18-year-old applicants

    Proportion (percentage)

    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK

    UK741,836180,03824.3

    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by Government office region of first degree and HND courses domicile

    Government office region

    Eastern65,85116,58425.2
    East Midlands52,21512,30423.6
    Greater London82,09921,86926.6
    Merseyside18,2474,27623.4
    North East33,5617,23021.5
    North West69,50616,96024.4
    South East100,45427,42327.3
    South West59,44714,72224.8
    West Midlands67,96915,89723.4
    Yorkshire62,79413,87322.1
    England612,142151,13824.7

    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by local education authority of domicile

    Region

    Cleveland1
    Hartlepool11,19421317.8
    Middlesbrough12,08337418.0
    Redcar and Cleveland11,91939620.6
    Stockton on Tees12,55161124.0
    Durham16,4331,41121.9
    Darlington11,29627721.4
    Northumberland4,2171,11926.5
    Gateshead2,34345019.2
    Newcastle upon Tyne3,21268721.4
    North Tyneside2,44763125.8
    South Tyneside2,02237618.6
    Sunderland3,84468517.8
    Tyne and Wear unknown
    England33,5617,23021.5

    Autumn 2000 entry

    17-year-old population in 1999

    18-year-old Applicants

    Proportion (Percentage)

    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK

    UK727,022179,58424.7

    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND course UK—by Government office region of domicile

    Government office region

    Eastern64,18516,51825.7
    East Midlands50,60512,14024.0
    Greater London81,60122,22227.2
    Merseyside18,2234,32923.8
    North East33,1437,12821.5
    North West68,68816,99024.7
    South East97,59626,33227.0
    South West58,59814,95325.5
    West Midlands66,60116,07924.1
    Yorkshire61,71913,56922.0
    England600,957150,26025.0

    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by local education authority of domicile

    Region

    Cleveland1
    Hartlepool11,20123219.3
    Middlesbrough12,01239219.5
    Redcar and Cleveland11,88536219.2
    Stockton on Tees12,48661624.8
    Durham16,3451,30920.6
    Darlington11,26728322.3
    Northumberland4,1341,10126.6

    Autumn 2000 entry

    17-year-old population in 1999

    18-year-old applicants

    Proportion (percentage)

    Gateshead2,45648419.7
    Newcastle upon Tyne3,22671722.2
    North Tyneside2,37156824.0
    South Tyneside1,97339620.1
    Sunderland3,78666817.6
    Tyne and Wear unknown
    England33,1437,12821.5

    Autumn 2001 entry

    17-year-old population in 2000

    18-year-old applicants

    Proportion (percentage)

    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK

    UK735,605185,55325.2

    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by Government office region of domicile

    Government office region

    Eastern64,40816,65525.9
    East Midlands51,61912,84224.9
    Greater London82,23623,05928.0
    Merseyside18,5604,64125.0
    North East33,5507,36622.0
    North West70,54117,52424.8
    South East98,61126,86127.2
    South West59,58915,05325.3
    West Midlands68,72516,95324.7
    Yorkshire63,09814,47622.9
    England610,937155,43025.4

    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by local education authority of domicile

    Region

    Cleveland1
    Hartlepool11,22626321.5
    Middlesbrough12,09845621.7
    Redcar and Cleveland11,82441122.5
    Stockton on Tees12,49560424.2
    Durham16,5401,36320.8
    Darlington11,25529123.2
    Northumberland4,0941,03525.3
    Gateshead2,54148919.2
    Newcastle upon Tyne3,23988827.4
    North Tyneside2,37447820.1
    South Tyneside1,95938319.6
    Sunderland3,90570518.1
    Tyne and Wear unknown
    England33,5507,36622.0

    Autumn 2002 entry

    17-year-old population in 2000

    18-year-old applicants

    Proportion (percentage)

    UK domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK

    UK737,343187,53925.4

    English domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND courses in the UK—by Government office region of domicile

    Government office region

    Eastern64,84717,09926.4
    East Midlands51,98812,87324.8
    Greater London83,66823,43628.0
    Merseyside18,3504,46524.3
    North East33,6007,61122.7
    North West70,69517,65325.0
    South East99,51127,23927.4
    South West60,03515,13825.2
    West Midlands67,81716,96725.0

    Autumn 2002 entry

    17-year-old population in 2001

    18-year-old applicants

    Proportion (percentage)

    Yorkshire63,06214,31622.7
    England613,573156,79725.6

    North East domiciled applicants, aged 18, applying through UCAS to full-time first degree and HND course in the UK—by local education authority of domicile

    Region

    Cleveland1
    Hartlepool11,26826120.6
    Middlesbrough12,05545021.9
    Redcar and Cleveland11,94937019.0
    Stockton on Tees12,55266025.9
    Durham16,3821,38821.7
    Darlington11,26031925.3
    Northumberland4,0541,10227.2
    Gateshead2,54250419.8
    Newcastle upon Tyne3,38395028.1
    North Tyneside2,33446720.0
    South Tyneside2,03440820.1
    Sunderland3,78773219.3
    Tyne and Wear unknown
    England33,6007,61122.7

    1 There are discontinuities in the time series caused by local Government Reorganisation. Also, UCAS do not hold domicile breakdowns for all new authorities in the year that organisation took place and so some participation rates for new authorities are not shown until the following year

    Notes:

  • 1. Participation rates have been calculated using the 17-year-old population from the previous year to reduce the distortion caused to LEA populations by the migration of students to their place of study. However, any migration, for whatever reason, at age 17 will affect the rates shown here, particularly between authorities that are geographically close, for example in the London area
  • 2. Accepted applicants with unknown English domiciles are excluded from the figures.
  • 3. Population figures relate to persons aged 17 as at 31 August in the year prior to entry, counts taken at the following 1 January; accepted applicants are aged 18 at 30 September in the year of entry.
  • Source:

    UCAS

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the progress that has been made towards achieving a 50 per cent.participation rate in higher education by 2010. [126814]

    The Initial Entry Rate is the measure which we use to assess progress towards achieving the 50 per cent, participation rate in higher education.The outturn Initial Entry Rate figure for 2001–02 is 43.5per cent.. This updates our previous best estimate of around 43 per cent..A National Statistics Quality Review of the Initial Entry Rate, intended to improve the transparency and robustness of the measure, will be published shortly.