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UK Performance Indicators: Non-continuation, 2019/20

6.7% of young UK full-time first degree entrants in 2018/19 did not continue past their first year. 11.1% were projected to leave higher education without a qualification. 1

The statistics released today relate to students who entered higher education between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019. The non-continuation indicator represents the proportion of these entrants who did not continue into the 2019/20 academic year. 2

The 2019/20 release includes data from English HE providers registered as either Approved (fee cap) or Approved with the Office for Students.3

Non-continuation: UK Performance Indicators 2019/20 – Provider level tables

Non-continuation: UK Performance Indicators 2019/20 - Summary

National figures for non-continuation among young UK full-time degree entrants have remained very stable over the last five years. The statistics have ranged between 6.5% and 6.8% dropping out before their second year with this year’s 6.7% inside the same range.

Mature entrants (aged 21 or over) to first degree courses in 2018/19 had a higher non-continuation rate of 13.5%. The non-continuation rates for entrants to other undergraduate courses was higher still at 15.8% of young entrants and 16.3% of mature entrants.

The UK Performance Indicators also project the eventual outcomes of UK full-time first degree entrants1. 78.9% of 2018/19 entrants are projected to complete the degree they started, with 11.1% projected to leave higher education with no award. The remainder are projected to either transfer to another course or leave with a different qualification (such as a Certificate or Diploma of Higher Education).

Today’s statistics show the non-continuation indicators for each higher education provider in the UK. The proportion of UK young full-time first degree entrants not continuing into their second year ranges from 0.8% to 38.2%.

The summary page of today’s UK Performance Indicators release shows the national and regional figures for non-continuation. The main tables provide detailed statistics for every UK higher education provider including a benchmark for each provider.

If you have comments or suggestions about today’s statistics please give feedback via the form in the release.


  1. Projected outcomes are published in Table T5. This table excludes those HE providers who were categorised as Alternative Providers in 2018/19. Please see Definitions: Students for the definition of Alternative Providers.
  2. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020 part way through the 2019/20 academic year. The pandemic did not have any notable impact on student enrolment figures for 2019/20, but did have an impact on qualifications awarded. Administrative delays related to the pandemic at a few providers meant that significant numbers of qualifications were not reported during the data collection process. The impact can be seen in the decrease in the number of qualifications achieved in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19, particularly among part-time students. These qualifications are expected to be reported to HESA in the 2020/21 data collection. Qualifications awarded are used in the non-continuation indicators. 
  3. HESA also collects data from a small number of English providers each year who are designated by the Department for Education as either ‘Designation for Teach Out’ or ‘Limited Designation’. See Specific course designation: alternative higher education providers
  4. UK Performance Indicators (UKPIs) are statistics which compare universities and colleges against benchmarks for widening participation and non-continuation. No two HE providers in the UK are alike, but the UKPIs are designed to be objective and consistent measures of every HE provider’s performance. The UKPIs are not intended to be league tables and HE providers are intended to be compared against benchmarks. See About the UK Performance Indicators 
  5. This year’s performance indicators are based on a methodology introduced for 2015/16 entrants that were previously published as experimental statistics. All five years of available data are included in the tables published today.  
  6. Benchmarks in the UK Performance Indicators are sector averages adjusted for the characteristics of providers and their entrants. The benchmarks are not official targets.
  7. See Upcoming data releases for a schedule of Official Statistics releases from HESA, including Statistical Bulletins, Performance Indicators and full open data releases. 
  8. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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