School dropout rate falls to lowest on record – with ‘periods of economic uncertainty’ driving up degree enrollment
- In 2019/20, the dropout rate decreased by 1.4 percentage points compared to the previous year
- A total of 329,315 full-time students (5.3%) dropped out of university
- The Higher Education Statistics Authority said it was not linked to the pandemic
- Data shows the likelihood of students dropping out depends on where they study
The proportion of students dropping out of university courses has fallen to an all-time high.
In 2019/20, the dropout rate was 5.3% out of a total of 329,315 full-time enrollees, down 1.4 percentage points from the previous year according to the Statistics Agency. of higher education.
He said it couldn’t be directly related to the pandemic, but that “periods of economic uncertainty” tend to lead to higher degree enrollments.
Data shows that the likelihood of a student not continuing their education depends heavily on where they study, with nearly a third of students dropping out at some institutions, compared to virtually none at others.
At Arden University in 2019/2020, 32.3% had dropped out, while 19.2% had dropped out at Point Blank Music School and 16% had discontinued their studies at London Metropolitan University.
The proportion of students dropping out of university courses has fallen to a record low, according to new figures
A total of 27 facilities had dropout rates above 10% out of 179 facilities analyzed.
Meanwhile, the Open University and the University College of Osteopathy had dropout rates of zero percent.
The Russell Group of elite universities had very low dropout rates. The University of Cambridge recorded a dropout rate of 0.6% while the University of Oxford saw 0.9% of students drop out of their courses.
On average, in the Russell group, only 2% of undergraduate students dropped out after their first year.
The figures also showed that 9.4 percent of full-time first-degree students would leave without a degree, a drop of 1.7 percentage points from the previous year, and also the lowest rate on record.
The HESA suggested that while the increase in the proportion of students continuing their courses after their first year “cannot be directly attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic”, there is often a tendency for enrollment to increase. universities in “times of economic uncertainty”.
“This behavior may extend to a desire to pursue a university education when other pathways outside are less certain,” he said.
Higher and further education minister Michelle Donelan said: ‘I have long argued that when it comes to university it is just as important as getting into it, and that universities need to focus on tackling dropout rates among students.
“That is why it is very welcome to see that, for the first time, it is expected that over 90% of students will obtain a qualification – the highest rate ever recorded.”
“This is real progress, impacting real lives – and I want to thank our universities for their hard work, especially through a difficult pandemic, to reach this milestone.”
The Higher Education Statistics Agency said the fall in university dropouts could not be directly linked to the pandemic, but that “periods of economic uncertainty” tend to lead to higher enrollments in universities. diplomas.
A Student Office spokesperson said: “We are pleased that, despite the difficult conditions of the pandemic, overall dropout rates have remained low.
“However, the gaps between the different universities and courses remain significant. It is essential that students, especially those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds, have the support they need to complete their studies.
Universities UK said: “Universities are committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring that students from all backgrounds can succeed and progress.
“This includes supporting students to achieve the best outcomes not just entering college, but thriving while they are there. It is encouraging to see that this commitment is reflected in the rates of pursuit of records, including among the most disadvantaged students.
“Today’s figures confirm that universities are opening up opportunities while providing high-quality teaching and learning experiences.”