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Ethnic minorities and poorer students more likely to drop out of English universities


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According to a recent study, universities in London have the worst dropout rate in England, with one out of ten students dropping out in their first year.

The report entitled On course for success? Student retention at university’was commissioned by the UPP Foundation, which is a charitable trust created by University Partnerships Programme (UPP) to work toward tackling the major issues involving higher education in the UK. It was produced by Social Market Foundation (SMF).

A major find of the study is that students of ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to drop out than other students at English universities.

The report’s author and SMF research director, Nigel Keohane, said:

“It’s futile to direct significant efforts to get poorer and ethnic minority students into higher education if the same students subsequently drop out.”

Keohane went on to emphasise the importance of retention and widening the pool of applicants.

He continued: “Each drop out represents a loss of potential, a poor and probably confidence-sapping experience for a student and an investment in tuition costs which is likely to have a low return.”

The Chair of the Board of Trustees at the UPP Foundation, Dr. Paul Marshall, said:

“The UPP Foundation sees the task of tackling non-continuation as an important element to improving social mobility.”

The report is encouraging the Government to improve the completion gap for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes reducing the dropout rate, which for black students is currently 10.3%.

They are also urging the Mayor of London to become more involved in improving university retention rates.

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