Rising numbers of students from more disadvantaged homes are dropping out of universities in England before completing their studies, figures show.
The proportion of youngsters from disadvantaged families who do not continue after their first year has reached the highest level for five years, says the Office for Fair Access.
Official data shows that in 2014-15, 8.8% of young, full-time, disadvantaged undergraduates did not continue in higher education beyond their first year – up from 8.2% the year before. By comparison, in 2014-15, less than 5% of those from the wealthiest backgrounds did not continue their studies.
The Offa report says: “The gap between the non-continuation rates of the most advantaged and most disadvantaged students has widened in the past year.
“While more disadvantaged young people are in higher education than ever before, the numbers of those students leaving before completing their studies has risen for the second year in a row.”
The report says: “The significance of this for students is huge.
“Higher education can be a transformational experience that opens doors to rewarding careers and social mobility, but this is only the case if students achieve successful outcomes.” Read more