More students are dropping out of degrees

The Times is reporting that the proportion of students abandoning their degrees in the first year is rising for the first time in three years, and it is rising fastest for students from poorer families.

The paper reports that 6% of first-time degree students who started university in autumn 2013 had left their course by the following summer (compared to 5.7% the year before).

Amongst students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the proportion leaving from was 8.2% (7.7% the previous year).

The paper also note the figures were higher at newer universities, saying they are more likely to take students who are the first in their family to go to university. At the University of Bolton, 17% of undergraduates did not make it to their second year.

The paper also reports that the overall Higher Education Statistics Agency forecast that is that 10.2% of the 2013 cohort would leave without a qualification. It says this is a marginal increase from the previous year but well down on the 14.9& rate from ten years earlier.

Les Ebdon, director of fair access to higher education, is quoted:

“I am disappointed to see that the trend of improvement has not continued.”

More at: More students are dropping out of degrees (subscription may be required)


See a breakdown of the figures from HESA at: UK Performance Indicators in Higher Education 2014/15 – Non-continuation rates


It looks like relatively small moves year-on-year, but they are clearly in the wrong direction.

What do you think is behind this? Is there a mismatch between expectations and reality? Is it because of increased financial concerns? Are too many people being encouraged to go to university in the first place?

Please give us your feedback and insights in the comments or via Twitter…

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Teachers descend on Westminster to protest against academy plan
Students given two final chances to resit legacy GCSEs
Categories: Higher Education.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Isn’t this data meaningless unless it reports why they’re leaving their degree after 1 year? Can’t do much about it as it is

Let us know what you think...