Skip to main content

Higher Education: Student Wastage

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what research his Department (a) has commissioned, (b) plans to commission and (c) has evaluated on the impact of top-up fees on university drop-out rates; when his Department last undertook a review of the matter that took into account (i) UK and (ii) international research; and if he will make a statement. (210520)

Student retention rates at higher education institutions in this country compare very well internationally. The UK ranks fifth in the OECD for first degree completion rates, out of 23 countries who report data in this area. A university education is now open to more students than ever before and the Government are totally committed to providing opportunities for all people to achieve their potential and to maximise their talent. The improved student finance support package, from academic year 2008-09 onwards, demonstrates that commitment.

It is too early to determine whether the introduction of variable tuition fees has had any impact on drop-out rates in higher education. The most recent information on the standard measure for non-completion dates from 2005-06, prior to the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2006-07. However, we will explore this issue further when more relevant data are available and feed this into the evidence base for the independent review of variable fees.

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.














Source: Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA.

The latest available information for higher education institutions in England is shown in Table 1.