In response to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (@ukhesa) figures on non-continuation rates published today, Minister Donelan welcomes the record rates of students projected to leave university with a qualification.
New statistics from HESA show that 5.3% of young, full-time, first degree entrants in 2019/20 did not continue past their first year of study.
This is the lowest non-continuation rate to be observed since UK Performance Indicators have been calculated.
Minister for Higher and Further Education Michelle Donelan said:
“I have long argued that when it comes to university, getting on is every bit as important as getting in, and that universities must focus on tackling drop-out rates among students.
“That is why it is so greatly welcome to see that for the first time, it is projected over 90% of students will complete a qualification – the highest rate ever recorded. This is real progress, impacting real lives – and I want to put on record my thanks to our universities for their hard work, especially through a challenging pandemic, in reaching this milestone”.
The non-continuation rate for young full-time first degree entrants in 2019/20 in the UK was 5.3%. This is a fall of 1.4 percentage points from the previous year and is the lowest non-continuation rate observed since the UK PIs have been calculated.
The non-continuation rate for mature full-time first degree entrants in the UK was 11.9%, a fall of 1.6 percentage points from the previous year.
Projected outcome statistics show that 9.4% of full-time first degree entrants in the UK are projected to leave HE with no award, a fall of 1.7 percentage points from the previous year, and also the lowest rate on record.
The statistics released today relate to students who entered higher education between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020 including the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Non-continuation: UK Performance Indicators – Provider level tables
- Non-continuation: UK Performance Indicators – Summary
The national figure for young, full-time, first degree entrants represents a fall of 1.4 percentage points from the previous year. For the previous five years, the non-continuation rate for these entrants had remained between 6.5% and 6.8%.
The non-continuation rate for mature entrants also reduced from 13.5% to 11.9% of full-time first degree entrants not continuing into their second year.
Non-continuation indicators were produced for 179 UK HE providers, with rates ranging from 0% to over 30%.
Also published today are projected outcome statistics showing that 82.1% of UK domiciled full-time first degree starters are projected to obtain a degree at the same HE provider where they started. 9.4% of entrants were projected to leave higher education with no award – also the lowest proportion since these statistics have been calculated.
The increase in the proportion of entrants continuing in HE after their first year cannot be directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic but there is often a trend for increased HE enrolments in periods of economic uncertainty. This behaviour may extend to a desire to continue degree courses when other paths outside HE are less certain.