University drop-out rates in UK rise for third successive year

Drop-out rates among university students who give up their studies within 12 months have gone up for the third year in a row, according to official statistics.

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that 26,000 students in England who began studying for their first degree in 2015 did not make it beyond the first year.

Rates vary widely across the higher education sector, with almost one in five undergraduates quitting by the end of their first year at the worst affected institutions, while at the other end of the scale fewer than 1% dropped out from Cambridge University.

The figures, which are the most recent available, reveal that in 2015-16 6.4% of home students starting a full-time first degree course in England quit before starting their second year, continuing an upward year-on-year trend from 5.7% in 2011-12. Read more