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Gap Years

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the university non-completion rate is of students having taken (a) a deferred entry gap year, (b) a non-deferred entry gap year and (c) no gap year. (84646)

Since 1996/97, information on projected non-completion rates for higher education students has been published annually, initially by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and latterly by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), in “Performance Indicators in Higher Education”. The latest available figures giving overall non-completion rates for students starting full-time first degree courses in England are shown in the table. Figures that separately identify students who have taken gap years are not available. Figures published in 2005 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that in 2003 the UK had one of the lowest higher education non-completion rates among OECD countries.

Percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree students expected neither to obtain an award nor transfer English higher education institutionsStudents starting courses in:Non-completion rate (%)1996/9715.71997/9816.11998/9915.81999/200015.92000/0115.02001/0213.82002/0313.9 Source: “Performance Indicators in Higher Education”, published by HESA. For 2002/03, the projected outcomes summarise the pattern of movements of students at institutions between 2002/03 and 2003/04 and give the outcomes that would have been expected from starters in 2002/03 if progression patterns were to remain unchanged over the next few years. The HESA data show the proportion of entrants who are projected to: obtain a qualification (either a first degree or another undergraduate award); transfer to another HEI; neither obtain a qualification nor transfer (i.e. fail to complete the course).