Stop using deprivation as dropout excuse, universities told

Universities in the United Kingdom have been told to stop using deprived backgrounds as an excuse for their students dropping out or failing to get decent jobs. John Blake, the new director for fair access and participation at the Office for Students, said that universities could not “shield” themselves from “legitimate questions” about the quality of their courses by hiding “under the bodies of disadvantaged students”, writes Will Hazell for iNews.

The government has put pressure on universities in England to cut the proportion of students failing to complete courses and drive up the numbers getting good jobs after graduating. At 25 higher education providers fewer than half of students who start a degree can expect to graduate and find professional employment or further study within 15 months.

The Office for Students, which regulates universities in England, has proposed new thresholds which would require 80% of students to continue to a second year of study, 75% to complete their qualification and 60% to go into professional employment or further study. Universities not meeting the standards could face fines and restrictions on their access to student loan funding. However, some institutions which are below the thresholds say it reflects the fact that they admit a high proportion of students from poorer backgrounds.
Full report on the iNews site