Scottish universities as a whole are lagging behind the rest of the UK in student drop-out rates. The University of St Andrews, however, ranks among the best in the UK.
According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 6.5 per cent of first degree entrants who enrolled at a Scottish institution of higher education in 2013-14 did not continue their studies beyond first year. The UK average is 6.2 per cent. Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson stated, “Drop-out rates are low by historic standards, but there are still too many students who are not getting the support they need.”
The HESA data reveals significant variation in university retention.
The University of the Highlands and Islands (14.4 per cent) and the University of the West of Scotland (14.2 per cent) have the highest drop-out rates in Scotland.
Meanwhile, only 2.3 per cent of first degree entrants at the University of St Andrews drop out after their first year. St Andrews has the lowest rate among Scottish institutions of higher education and is among the best in the UK.
“The greater tendency for students from underrepresented groups to drop out of their courses, compared to others, is already well known, and is just one aspect of a bigger problem,” Les Ebdon, director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said. “Disadvantaged students are also less likely to get a first or 2:1, or to go on to a graduate-level job after graduation.”