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Figures reveal increase in student dropouts

29 March 2012 | last updated: 11 December 2015

The proportion of students who dropped out after their first year at university has increased, particularly among those from disadvantaged areas, according to figures released today.

Overall, the number of students in the UK who dropped out after entering university in 2009/10 - the most recent figures, released today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) - was 7.2%, compared with just 6.5% the previous year (2008/09).
Almost one in 10 students (9.9%) from neighbourhoods with the lowest levels of participation at university dropped out. That 9.9% figure is an increase from 8.7% in 2008/09 and the highest level since 2006/07.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Over the past five years, in England alone, over £1bn has been spent on measures to improve student retention in higher education. Sadly, today's figures show that too many students, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, are still failing to complete their studies.
'We have real concerns that the new funding regime with hugely increased tuition fees may force some students onto courses that, although cheaper, do not best suit their abilities. That scenario is likely to lead to further drop outs, which will not benefit the student, the university or society.'
The full results and tables can be found on the HESA website.