§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list those universities with over 20 per cent. of students expected to drop out of their courses without finishing their degrees, using the latest figures compiled by the Higher Education Funding Council; if he will estimate the cost to public funds for each student; what initiative he is taking to reduce drop outs; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
The latest information is shown in the table. The cost to the Exchequer of students who drop out from UK universities depends on factors such as the timing of drop outs within academic years, the level of public funding associated with individual courses, whether or not students transfer to other HE institutions and whether or not students return to HE at a later date. Figures for the cost are not compiled centrally.
The UK has one of the best completion rates in the world. The latest Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Performance Indicators (Pis) put the national rate of non-completion at 17 per cent. This rate has stayed broadly the same since 1991–92, a period of considerable expansion of student numbers. But there is room for improvement. That is why we have asked HEFCE to "bear down" on non-completion, in particular by identifying examples of good practice in student retention and disseminating them across the sector; by working more closely with those institutions whose performance indicator for non-completion fails to meet expectations; and by working with the Department in establishing a sector target for non-completion.
HE Institutions in the UK with non-completion rates of more than 20 per cent. Full-time students starting first degree courses in 1999–2000 Non-completion rate Institution Projected1 Benchmark2 England — — Anglia Polytechnic University1 27 21 Bolton Institute of HE1 30 25 University of Central Lancashire1 33 26 Coventry University 22 21 Dartington College of Arts 24 17 University of Derby 24 22 University of East London1 33 26 University of Greenwich 26 23 University of Huddersfield1 25 20 Kingston University 21 21 Liverpool Hope University College 23 23 Liverpool John Moores University1 22 19 London Guildhall University1 30 25 University of Loton1 26 21 Middlesex University 22 23
HE Institutions in the UK with non-completion rates of more than 20 per cent. Full-time students starting first degree courses in 1999–2000 Non-completion rate Institution Projected1 Benchmark2 University College Northampton1 29 20 University of North London1 45 27 School of Oriental and African Studies1 29 17 South Bank University 28 26 Staffordshire University 23 20 University of Sunderland1 28 21 University of Teeside1 27 22 Thames Valley University1 29 22 Trinity College of Music1 39 17 University of the West of England 21 19 University of Westminster 23 23 Scotland University of Abertay Dendee1 24 17 Glasgow Caledonian University1 29 17 University of Paisley1 31 17 Wales University of Glamorgan 25 23 University of Wales, Lampeter 26 21 University of Wales College, Newport1 26 21 North East Wales Institute 26 23 Swansea Institute of Higher Education1 30 19 1 The projected outcomes are calculated on the assumption that the progression paths of new entrants will be the same as those for students currently in the system. Those institutions whose projected value is significantly worse than their benchmark are marked with an asterix.
The benchmark is an expected value which allows for the entry qualifications of the students and the subject mix of the institution.
"Performance Indicators in Higher Education" published by HEFCE.