One fifth of UK undergraduates drop out
Almost one in five students who embark on a first degree course in the United Kingdom are expected to abandon higher education before they gain a degree, says a report published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.1 It also indicates that 8% of school leavers and 16% of mature students drop out before the end of their first year.
The council's third annual report of higher education performance indicators, drawn from data provided by 169 publicly funded institutions from all over the UK, also highlights large differences between subjects. Far fewer medical, dentistry, and veterinary science students drop out, compared with maths, computer sciences and engineering students, who have the highest rate of non-continuation.
Although nearly half of UK households are classified as being skilled manual (social class IIIM), semiskilled (social class IV), or unskilled (social class V), the report also indicates that only 25% of students who