True indicator is a job at the end

December 10, 1999

University College Northampton is disputing with the Higher Education Funding Council for England that "out of 179 mature, full-time, first-degree holders who already possessed a qualification two-fifths dropped out". We have a large cohort of students following one-year top-up degree programmes suitable for progression from a Higher National Diploma. These students are without exception mature. But they are not included, since their 12-month degree is awarded after the Higher Education Statistics Agency summer returns (from which the HEFCE statistics were collated); nor are they included as continuing students as the "late" return to HESA is voluntary, and UCN, along with many others, does not send in a late return.

This lack of inclusion of degrees awarded after the July census date also adversely affects the figures.

S. Martin Gaskell

Rector, University College Northampton

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