In your leader of November 18 you set out the dilemmas that face us in widening participation and addressing concerns about students who fail to complete. The message behind the performance indicators is not that students have wasted taxpayers' money if they drop out, but that it is preferable if they complete their courses.
The editorial states that students who transfer from full-time to part-time courses are treated as dropouts in the statistics. This is not true for the official performance indicators, which also take into account moves between institutions and breaks in study.
Chair of the performance indicators steering group, Higher Education Funding Council for England