Non-continuation rates summary: UK Performance Indicators 2015/16
This summary includes: Introduction | Non-continuation rates of full-time entrants after first year | Non-continuation rates of part-time entrants after second year at HE provider | Return after a year out | Projected outcomes | Tables | Notes | View a printable version of this release
The purpose of the indicators is to provide an objective measure of how the UK higher education (HE) sector is performing.
This is the second of our releases this year and focuses on student retention.
For any individual who enrols at an HE provider, there are a range of outcomes that the student may achieve after a particular time.
In constructing the non-continuation tables supplied here, we define a student to have continued if they obtain a qualification (although this does not necessarily have to be the one they were originally aiming for) or remain active at the same HE provider (but they may be studying a different course to the one they were initially registered on).
For further information on the non-continuation definition, please click here.
In table series T3, we highlight the proportion of full-time entrants who do not continue in higher education beyond their first year, with T3a showing the figures for first degree entrants, while T3d focuses on other undergraduate entrants.
Table D provides non-continuation rates over time by country of provider. For full-time first degree entrants, we see higher rates among mature students than young students.
Focusing on the time trend (Chart 6), non-continuation rates among young, full-time first degree students has remained relatively steady over time with a more downward trajectory observed for mature entrants.
With regards to other undergraduate entrants in 2014/15, the non-continuation rate for young, full-time students in the UK is generally slightly higher than for mature entrants. Overall, the non-continuation value for both mature and young entrants has displayed a declining pattern since the start of the millennium.
Chart 7 considers non-continuation rates across HE providers. Among mature first degree entrants, the chart illustrates a noticeable bell shape, with the peak lying in the region of 8 to 12 per cent. The distribution is more right skewed for young first degree entrants.
Table D - Percentage of UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants not continuing in HE after their first year by location of HE provider and academic year
Table T3e concentrates on non-continuation two years after entry for part-time first degree entrants. In Table E, we illustrate non-continuation rates for this group. Rates are slightly higher among those aged 30 and under than for those aged over 30. Chart 8 illustrates how the proportion varies within the sector.
Please note that from the 2014/15 publication, there was a change in the allocation of The Open University (OU) students by location of HE provider. Previously, all OU enrolments were counted within England, where the OU has its administrative centre. From the 2014/15 publication onwards, enrolments at one of the OU’s national centres in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will contribute to the totals of those countries. This impacts on the non-continuation statistics shown in table E below from 2012/13.
Table E - Percentage of UK domiciled part-time first degree entrants aged 30 and under not continuing in HE after their second year by location of HE provider and academic year
Table T4 discloses the percentage of students who return to HE after a year out during 2014/15. The data provides a split to show the proportions who return to their initial provider, transfer to another provider and those who do not return to study.
The projected learning outcomes for full-time students starting their programme of study in 2014/15 is supplied in Table T5. They give the outcomes that would be expected from starters at the HE providers in 2013/14 if these progression patterns were to remain unchanged over the next few years.
The sector averages for the UK and its constituent countries are obtained by taking a weighted average of all the relevant HE provider values. We see from Table F that the proportion of full-time first degree students expected to qualify with a degree from the HE provider at which they started in the UK is just over 80 per cent in 2014/15. As Chart 9 demonstrates, there has been a gentle fall in the proportion of students not expected to obtain an award or transfer. Chart 10 illustrates the spread of values for this indicator across the sector.
Table F - Projected outcomes - percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree starters expected to gain a degree (sector averages) by location of HE provider and academic year
- Table T3a - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants 2014/15
- Table T3b - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants 2014/15
- Table T3c - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled mature full-time first degree entrants 2014/15
- Table T3d - Non-continuation following year of entry: UK domiciled full-time other undergraduate entrants 2014/15
- Table T3e - Non-continuation two years following year of entry: UK domiciled part-time first degree entrants 2013/14
- Table T4a - Resumption of study in 2015/16, after year out of HE in 2014/15: UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants 2013/14
- Table T4b - Resumption of study in 2015/16, after year out of HE in 2014/15: UK domiciled full-time other undergraduate entrants 2013/14
- Table T5 - Projected learning outcomes: UK domiciled full-time students starting first degree courses 2014/15
- Table SN1 - Percentage of UK domiciled young entrants to full-time first degree courses in 2014/15 who are no longer in HE in 2015/16
- Table SN2 - Percentage of UK domiciled mature entrants to full-time first degree courses in 2014/15 who are no longer in HE in 2015/16
- Table SN3 - Percentage of all UK domiciled entrants to full-time other undergraduate courses in 2014/15 who are no longer in HE in 2015/16
- Table SN4 - All HE providers transition matrix for sector 2014/15
- Table SN5 - Percentage of UK domiciled starters on full-time first degree programmes by start year of programme and academic year
- Table SN6 - Sector projected learning outcomes: UK domiciled full-time students starting first degree courses by academic year.
Who classifies as a young entrant?
Young entrants are those aged under 21, whilst mature students are those aged 21 or over.
How are the OU students dealt with?
Prior to the 2014/15 publication, all Open University (OU) entrants were considered to be in England, where the university has its administrative centre. However, since the 2014/15 publication, entrants have been allocated to the country where their national centre is located.
How are the continuation categories defined?
Where can I find information on any merger or changes to HE providers?
These can be found here. Note that any new providers will have their non-continuation data suppressed until they have been in the sector for at least two years allowing for their students to be tracked across academic years.
Are there any additional notes on the Performance Indicators to accompany this publication?
For more information relating to the Performance Indicators, please click here.
HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
Press enquiries should be directed to the Press Office at HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ, +44 (0)1242 211120, [email protected]. General enquiries about the data contained within this release should be addressed to the UKPI team, HESA (at the same address), +44 (0)1242 211115, [email protected].