Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

In the Wider View, Colleges Sparkle and Sputter

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

In the Wider View, Colleges Sparkle and Sputter

Article excerpt

Further education colleges are doing better than expected in attracting students from areas with low rates of higher education participation, but they also have higher-than-predicted dropout rates from some types of student.

These are the main findings of a report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Widening Participation and Non-Continuation Indicators for Further Education Colleges, released on 22 August.

The report compares the widening participation and dropout rates of colleges with the "sector-adjusted average" - a predicted rate based on students' subjects, qualifications and age. It draws on data from English colleges for 2008-10.

According to the study, 18.3 per cent of young full-time undergraduates being taught at colleges were from neighbourhoods where participation in higher education is low.

The sector-adjusted average for further education colleges is 16.1 per cent, meaning that colleges are better at attracting students from such areas than would be expected.

In contrast, such students make up 10.7 per cent of the university population, a figure in line with its sector-adjusted average.

Some colleges have a demographic mix not seen in any university. …

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