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Higher Education

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost arising from students dropping out of higher education without completing courses was in each of the last five years. (90532)

The cost to the Exchequer of students who drop out from UK universities depends on factors such as the timing of drop outs within academic years, the level of public funding associated with individual courses, students entitlement to student support, whether or not students transfer to other HE institutions and whether or not students return to HE at a later date. It is therefore not possible to give a reliable figure for the cost.

Completion rates for the UK are among the highest in the OECD. The following table sets out the rates of non-completion over the last five years for which information is available. In England, the national rate of projected non-completion has broadly shown a downward trend since 1997/98, but we are committed to continuing to bear-down on rates of non-completion while increasing and widening participation in higher education.

Percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants expected neither to obtain an award nor transfer (English higher education institutions)

Students starting courses in:

Non-completion rate (percentage)

1999/2000

15.9

2000/01

15.0

2001/02

13.8

2002/03

13.9

2003/04

14.4

Source: Performance Indicators in Higher Education in the UK published by Higher Education Statistics Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the number of students in full-time higher education who are in paid employment, broken down by industry sector. (92063)

The Student Income and Expenditure Survey 2004-05, published on the 30th March 2006, is a comprehensive study on students' income, expenditure, borrowing and debt. It showed that 56 per cent. of all full time undergraduate students undertook paid work at some time during the academic year. For those undertaking such work earnings were on average £3,250 (after tax). Data by industry sector are not available. The Department plans to repeat the survey in the 2007-08 academic year.