One in 12 Students Dropping out of Welsh Universities and Colleges

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Byline: By TRYST WILLIAMS Western Mail

Eight per cent of students drop out of Welsh universities and higher education institutes each year, according to research published today. The latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), which cover the academic years 2002-03 to 2003- 04, show that one in 12 students left the higher education system during that year.

A further 3% switched from their original university or college to another institution during that time.

But while Wales' average compared favourably with those of Scotland and Northern Ireland there were wide discrepancies between the 13 Welsh institutions listed in the annual study.

Cardiff University saw just 7.6% of students leaving the education system or transferring to other colleges. Meanwhile the nearby University of Glamorgan lost 19.8% - almost one in five - of its students.

Peter Crofts, head of marketing and student recruitment at the Pontypridd-based university, last night defended the institution's record. He said, 'The University of Glamorgan has been hugely successful in delivering the National Assembly's agenda for widening participation in higher education and as a result thousands of people who would not normally have considered university have gone on to graduate and have highly successful careers.

'However, this 'non-traditional' group of students face significant financial and domestic pressures in trying to complete their studies and this inevitably hurts our completion statistics as a higher percentage fail to complete.

'But, this said, those that do complete their studies enjoy the highest starting salaries of students from any Welsh university. …