University of Northampton sees student dropouts fall to record low despite Covid-19

Minister hailed 'real progress, impacting real lives' as more carry on chasing degrees beyond year one

By Patrick Jack, Data Reporter
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 12:31 pm

Fewer first-year students dropped out at University of Northampton last year than ever before despite Covid-19's impact on higher education.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the latest statistics which show the proportion of students dropping out of degree courses fell to a record low last year across the UK.

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that around 1,800 UoN students aged under 21 began a full-time first degree course in 2019-20 – and 120 quit before the second year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

University of Northampton

That means the non-continuation rate for young entrants was 6.6 percent – down from 10.5 percent the year before, and the lowest since comparable records began in 2014-15.

The vast majority of students continued at the provider while 3.1 percent transferred to another university.

Dropout rates across the UK fell to 5.3 percent – also a record low.

The HESA said that while the increase in students continuing courses cannot be directly linked to the pandemic, there is often a trend towards increased university enrolment in “periods of economic uncertainty.”

HESA figures show that the proportion of mature students dropping out last year also fell to a record low nationally – 11.9 percent.

Of the 935 mature students at UoN, 65 discontinued their studies before the second year – a non-continuation rate of 6.9 percent.

Minister for higher and further education Michelle Donelan said getting on at university is just as important in getting in.

She added: "This is real progress, impacting real lives. I want to put on record my thanks to our universities for their hard work, especially through a challenging pandemic, in reaching this milestone."

Data shows that the likelihood of a student not continuing their studies depends heavily on where they study.

A third of students dropped out from London's Arden University, while Cambridge University had a dropout rate of 0.6 percent, while Oxford saw 0.9 percent of students discontinue courses.

The Office for Students said it was pleased that despite the challenging conditions of the pandemic, overall dropout rates have remained low.

A spokesperson added: "It is vital that students, particularly those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds, have the support they need to complete their studies.”