THE BEST AND WORST FOR RETENTION
|Institutions with lowest proportion of dropouts (non-continuation after first year). Full-time first-degree entrants, 2005-06|
|1||Royal Academy of Music||0.0||6.1|
|2||Royal Northern College of Music||0.9||8.2|
|3||St George’s Hospital Medical School||1.1||4.7|
|4||University of Cambridge||1.2||4.5|
|5||University of Oxford||1.2||2.7|
|6||Glasgow School of Art||1.9||6.4|
|7||University of St Andrews||2.0||3.7|
|8||Stranmillis University College||2.2||7.0|
|9||Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts||2.5||9.5|
|10||School of Pharmacy||2.5||5.5|
|Institutions with highest proportion of dropouts (non-continuation after first year). Full-time first-degree entrants, 2005-06|
|2||UHI Millennium Institute||24.0||16.5|
|3||University of Bolton||21.7||13.8|
|5||University of Glamorgan||17.5||12.9|
|6||University of Paisley||17.1||11.7|
|8||North-East Wales Institute of Higher Education||15.6||12.8|
|9||University of Sunderland||15.6||11.2|
|10||University of Ulster||15.2||10.0|
|* Bell College is now part of the University of the West of Scotland|
There has been a modest increase in the proportion of students staying on in higher education after their first year, according to official figures.
Annual performance indicators published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that, for students starting full-time first degrees in the UK in 2005-06, the proportion who had dropped out one year later was 8.6 per cent, down from 8.8 per cent the previous year.
A second indicator, the total proportion of full-time first degree students predicted to leave higher education without a qualification, fell by one percentage point to 14.1 per cent in the UK. However, it grew by one percentage point in England, to 13.9 per cent.
Bill Rammell, Minister for Higher Education, said: "Although there has been a slight increase in the proportion of full-time first-degree starters expected neither to get an award nor transfer (in England), we still have one of the highest levels of student retention ... internationally."
A report published by the Public Accounts Committee this year said student retention had stalled, but Mr Rammell said Hesa figures proved the report was "wide of the mark."
Bell College, which merged with the University of Paisley last summer to become the University of the West of Scotland, had the highest rate of young full-time students dropping out before second year, at 24.4 per cent, closely followed by the UHI Millennium Institute at 24 per cent and the University of Bolton at 21.7 per cent.
The University of the West of Scotland said that since the merger retention had been a priority, and positive results were anticipated soon.
Peter Marsh, Bolton's deputy vice-chancellor, said full-time students made up only 25 per cent of its intake, and Bolton was at or around its retention benchmark for foundation degrees and higher national diplomas and certificates.
Institutions with the best retention scores were the Royal Academy of Music (0 per cent dropouts), the Royal Northern College of Music (0.9 per cent) and St George's Hospital Medical School (1.1 per cent).
Three universities in the top ten for retention - Cambridge, Oxford and St Andrews - are in the bottom ten for diversity. In contrast, three in the bottom for retention - Ulster and Sunderland, and Bell College - are among the most diverse.