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By Luke Walter on 21.2.2024

£800 Million Spent On ‘Drop Outs’

The public accounts committee of MP’s, has said despite the government spending £800 million to curb the dropout rate of students, 22% of students are still dropping out.

The report, entitled, ‘Staying the course: the retention of students on higher education courses’, released by the committee today, discovered ‘28,000 full-time and 87,000 part-time students who started first-degree courses in 2004-05 were no longer in higher education a year later.’

The report however, said in comparison to other nations, students in the UK were more likely to complete their course in higher education. The MP’s also found that students from poorer backgrounds, without a family history in higher education, were more likely to withdraw.

National Union of Students President, Gemma Tumelty, said: “While the UK performs comparatively well in terms of retention, there is no room for complacency. For the Government’s widening participation agenda to be successful, it is not enough for poorer students to be encouraged to enter university – they have to be supported so that they can complete their courses.”

The report said students dropped out for a number of reasons, but because of the way universities collect information on withdrawing, the Funding Council has found it difficult to attribute particular reasons for dropping out.

Professor Rick Trainor, President of Universities UK, commented: “Universities are committed to supporting their students throughout their time in higher education and have introduced many initiatives and schemes designed specifically to help students complete their studies – for example, mentoring, study skills and support.” He added: “The report from the Committee of Public Accounts has raised a number of interesting points and we know there’s room for improvement in certain areas.”

President of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, said: “If the government and universities are serious about opening up to students from lower socio-economic groups then they must recognize the extra support these people need and properly resource it.”


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