Bridget Phillipson – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Bridget Phillipson on 2015-11-16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to improve the retention of students who have the potential to succeed in higher education but face financial difficulties.

Joseph Johnson

Continuation rates for students in publicly-funded institutions are at a record high, with 94.3% of young full-time first degree entrants to higher education in English HEIs in 2012/13 continuing after their first year and, 90.0% of full-time first degree starters of all ages in English HEIs in 2012/13 were expected to receive an award or transfer. Improvements in these areas have come at a time of considerable expansion in student numbers and increasing diversity in the backgrounds of students.

Institutions wishing to charge higher fees must agree access agreements with the independent Director of Fair Access. In these, institutions set out what more they will do to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds and help them to complete their studies and progress to post-graduate study or employment. In 2016/17, institutions expect to spend £425m on financial support through their access agreements.

The Higher Education Green Paper set out further steps to encourage universities to improve retention rates, including for students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups, through a Teaching Excellence Framework.