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Student Wastage

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time students under 22 years old withdrew from their higher education course in each year since 2001; (164198)

(2) how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time mature students withdrew from their higher education course in each year since 2001.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time (i) students under 22 years old and (ii) mature students withdrew from their higher education course in each year since 2001. (166863)

The information available on non-continuation of higher education students is shown in Tables 1 and 2. The figures are taken from the Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Table 1 shows the proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree entrants to higher education institutions in England, who do not continue in higher education after their first year. Table 2 shows the proportion of UK-domiciled full-time other undergraduate entrants to higher education institutions in England who do not continue in higher education after their first year.

Table 1: Percentage of UK-domiciled full-time first degree entrants to English higher education institutions not continuing in higher education after their first year

Academic year

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Young (under 21)

7.0

7.3

7.2

6.8

Mature

14.8

15.1

15.4

14.0

Source:

Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA

Table 2: Percentage of UK-domiciled full-time other undergraduate entrants to English higher education institutions not continuing in higher education after their first year

Academic year

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Young (under 21)

16.3

16.1

17.5

16.6

Mature

15.8

14.5

14.3

14.8

Source:

Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA

Figures for 2005-06 will become available in 2008.

HESA do not publish figures on the percentage of part-time students not continuing in higher education after their first year.

According to the figures published by the OECD, the overall completion rate for Type A (first degree equivalent) courses in UK universities and colleges of higher education is among the highest in the OECD countries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students aged over 21 years withdrew from (a) full-time and (b) part-time higher education courses in each year since 2003; and what the most frequently given reasons were for withdrawal. (180496)

The standard measure of non-completion is the proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree starters of all ages who are projected to neither obtain an award nor transfer to another institution. The available information for higher education institutions in England is shown in table 1.

Table 1: Proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree starters at higher education institutions in England, who are projected to neither obtain an award nor transfer to another institution

Percentage

2000/01

15.0

2001/02

13.8

2002/03

13.9

2003/04

14.4

2004/05

13.8

Source:

Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA.

Projected non-completion rates are not available for part-time starters, and are not available broken down by age groups.

The available information on reasons for withdrawing from higher education courses is shown in tables 2 and 3. This information covers students, aged over 21, leaving first degree courses at English higher education institutions in each year, and includes students in their first, final and intervening years of study, irrespective of the year in which they began their course.

Table 2: UK-domiciled full-time students aged over 21 years, on first degree courses at English higher education institutions, who left their course

Academic year

Reason for leaving

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

Successful completion of course

58,700

61,785

62,370

64,550

64,215

Academic failure/left in bad standing

2,395

2,335

2,460

2,645

2,990

Transferred to another institution

415

430

395

760

560

Health reasons

450

465

435

425

460

Death

45

45

55

50

50

Financial reasons

480

480

500

495

410

Personal reasons and dropped out

2,180

2,345

2,320

2,305

2,325

Written off after lapse of time

820

1,125

1,395

1,710

1,435

Exclusion

160

230

285

285

310

Gone into employment

175

175

175

160

160

Other

1,525

1,550

2,065

1,820

1,630

Completion of course, result unknown

605

715

500

365

350

Unknown

815

670

525

605

415

Total who left course not having transferred

9,645

10,135

10,715

10,870

10,540

Total who left in academic year

68,755

72,350

73,480

76,180

75,315

Note:

Numbers are rounded to the nearest five so components may not sum to totals.

Source:

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Table 3: UK-domiciled part-time students aged over 21 years, on first degree courses at English higher education institutions, who left their course

Academic year

Reason for leaving

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

Successful completion of course

15,000

22,115

24,915

28,045

25,645

Academic failure/left in bad standing

780

860

1,005

1,010

1,365

Transferred to another institution

80

85

60

405

195

Health reasons

220

210

200

195

190

Death

25

105

110

90

60

Financial reasons

160

120

165

175

185

Personal reasons and dropped out

1,645

1,675

1,485

1,670

1,855

Written off after lapse of time

600

640

740

850

870

Exclusion

30

1,105

1,230

1,450

545

Gone into employment

160

190

145

140

165

Other

960

950

1,170

1,415

880

Completion of course, result unknown

355

290

295

250

240

Unknown

445

755

1,055

760

370

Total who left course not having transferred

5,375

6,905

7,600

8,005

6,730

Total who left in academic year

20,460

29,105

32,570

36,455

32,575

Note:

Numbers are rounded to the nearest five so components may not sum to totals.

Source:

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

The reason for leaving information on the HESA student record should be treated with some caution, because the ‘other personal reasons and dropped out’ and ‘other’ fields are used extensively throughout the time-series. Institutions are not always able to record the precise reason for leaving. Furthermore, HESA allows only one reason for withdrawal to be recorded, however it is likely that many students leave for a combination of reasons.

Tables 1, 2 and 3 are based on different populations of students. Table 1 covers the cohort of full-time first degree starters of all ages in each year. Table 2 covers full-time first degree students aged 21 years and over leaving their courses in each year, regardless of the year of study or which year they began their course. Table 3 covers part-time first degree students aged 21 years and over leaving their courses in each year, regardless of the year of study or which year they began their course.

According to figures published by the OECD, the overall completion rate for type A (first degree equivalent) courses in UK universities and colleges of higher education is among the highest in the OECD countries.