Tackling university drop-out rate ‘is vital’

The BBC reports that more must be done to tackle a steady rise in the number of students dropping out of universities in England, the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) says.

The national drop-out rate rose from 6.6% in 2011-12 to 7.4% in 2014-15, an SMF report finds, with each dropout representing “a loss of potential”.

Out of all the regions in England, London performs the worst, with a drop-out rate of 9.3% in 2014-15.

The government said new laws would make universities publish drop-out rates. The SMF study notes that many of the disadvantaged groups targeted through widening access programmes are also the groups most likely to drop out.

It says institutions with a higher in-take of black students, students whose parents work in lower level occupations or students who come from low university participation areas are more likely to have higher drop-out rates.

Statistics released by the Office for Fair Access in June showed that, in 2014-15, 8.8% of young, full-time, disadvantaged undergraduates did not continue their studies beyond the first year – up from 8.2% the year before.

The SMF says it is “futile to direct significant efforts to widen participation if the same students subsequently drop out”.

  • Greater London 9.3%

  • North West 8.5%

  • Eastern 8.4%

  • East Midlands 5.8%

  • Yorkshire and Humberside 7%

  • West Midlands 7.7%

  • North East 6.9%

  • South East 6.0%

  • South West 5.7%

Read more Tackling university drop-out rate ‘is vital’

What can be done to ensure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds continue at university? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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