§ Mrs. Laing
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of undergraduates failed to complete a course at a higher education institution, broken down by institution and course title, in each year since 1997. 
§ Margaret Hodge
[holding answer 10 April 2002]: Nationally, the non-completion rate has remained broadly the same at 17–18 per cent since 1991–92. In 2000, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a table comparing estimates of non-completion rates in member countries. They showed an average of around a third of university students did not complete their course in OECD countries. The UK boasts the second lowest non-completion rale among the OECD countries.
The available information on non-completion rates is contained in "Performance Indicators in Higher Education in the UK" published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), copies of which are available from the House library. The figures cover full-time first degree courses only, and show, for each individual HE institution in the UK, the proportion of entrants who failed to complete their course. Copies of the HEFCE publication are available for students starting courses in 1996–97, 1997–98 and 1998–99. The next edition, covering students starting courses in 1999–2000, is scheduled for publication in autumn 2002.