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University drop-out rates in UK rise for third successive year

‘Depressing’ figures may be linked to higher fees in England, says education expert

Full article here – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/mar/08/university-drop-out-rates-uk-rise-third-year

Extracts and comment below.

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Drop-out rates among university students who give up their studies within 12 months have gone up for the third year in a row, according to official statistics.

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that 26,000 students in England who began studying for their first degree in 2015 did not make it beyond the first year.

The figures, which are the most recent available, reveal that in 2015-16 6.4% of home students starting a full-time first degree course in England quit before starting their second year, continuing an upward year-on-year trend from 5.7% in 2011-12.

Experts expressed disappointment at the figures,….. and said it was due in part to recent increases in student numbers and the changing profile of undergraduates who did not always get adequate support.

Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank, said the year-on-year increase in drop-out rates was “depressing”, but said rates still remained lower in England than in many other countries.

Asked why the rate was rising, he said: “We know the higher fees in England have led to lower value for money perceptions among students, so that could be having an effect.

“But my personal hunch is that it is more to do with the extra students that have been recruited in recent years. There are more students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with non-standard qualifications, and some universities have lowered their entry standards.

“Some of these changes are welcome but students from underrepresented groups do need more support than others and they may not always be getting it in full.”