Latest annual performance indicators for 2009/10 published by HESA today show Welsh universities have continued to outperform their English counterparts in widening access to higher education from groups with no tradition or experience of higher education.
Amanda Wilkinson, Director of Higher Education Wales said:
“This is good news for Wales and validation of the hard work and dedication of the staff at our universities. The figures underline the effort that Welsh institutions put into raising aspirations within our communities and to creating new pathways to higher education for those who may not have considered it an option.
Continued progress against the figures for the recruitment of, for example, disabled students, mature students, as well as those from low participation neighbourhoods, shows that universities in Wales are actively delivering to key national priorities and targets for social justice. “
It is acknowledged that retaining non-traditional students can sometimes be more challenging, and universities have provided additional support and expertise in this area to improve the retention rates of students.
Ms Wilkinson continued:
“These figures show a significant improvement in the continuation rates for all entrants on first degrees, both young and mature. In fact, the proportion of students continuing in Wales is better than for the UK as a whole for the very first time.
There is still much to do as we enter a period of change in the funding and fees system not just in Wales but across the UK. Our universities must ensure that prospective students and their parents are provided with good information and advice if we are to ensure that those considering higher education are not deterred from applying due to poor information about the costs and benefits of a university education.”
Of particular note for Wales in the 2009/10 HESA Data were:
• Continuation: The proportion of full-time first degree entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2008/09 that were not in HE in 2009/10 was 7.4%, a decrease from 9.2% in 2008/09 and below the proportion for the UK as a whole at 7.9%. The difference between Wales and the UK has been narrowing since 2007/08 and Wales is now performing marginally better. (T3a)
• Continuation: The proportion of young full-time first degree entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2008/09 from low participation neighbourhoods that were not in HE in 2009/10 was 7.4%, this is an improvement since 2008/09 when the proportion was 11.0%, and is now lower than the UK in total at 8.7%. Again, the gap between Wales and the UK has narrowed and Wales are now performing better than the UK on this measure. For entrants from other neighbourhoods the figure is 5.9%, similar to the UK at 6.2% and an improvement on 2008/09 when the proportion was 7.0%. (T3b)
• Under-represented groups: The Welsh HE Sector continues to have similar or higher proportions of students from most under-represented groups in higher education compared to the UK as a whole. Non-continuation rates have improved since 2008/09 and in some cases are now better than for the UK as a whole.
• State schools or colleges: 93.5% of young full-time undergraduate entrants to Welsh HE institutions (HEIs) in 2009/10 (the same proportion as in 2008/09) were from state schools or colleges – greater than the UK as a whole at 89.4%. Five HEIs had proportions that were significantly higher than the benchmark. (T1b)
• NS-SEC classes: For young full-time undergraduate entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2009/10, the proportion from NS-SEC Classes 4, 5, 6 & 7 was 30.7% which was the same as the proportion for the UK as a whole. (T1b) (Note that these figures should not be compared to 2008/09. See note below.)
• Low participation neighbourhoods: The proportion of young full-time undergraduate entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2009/10 from low participation neighbourhoods was 10.2%, about the same as 2008/09 and a little lower than the UK as a whole at 10.7%. (T1b)
• Mature undergraduate entrants and low participation neighbourhoods: 25.6% of full-time undergraduate entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2009/10 were mature (25.0% in 2008/09). 13.6% of such entrants had no previous HE experience and were from a low participation neighbourhood, an increase on 2008/09 when the proportion was 12.0%. The proportion is greater than the proportion for the UK as a whole at 12.0%. (T2a)
• Part-time undergraduate entrants and low participation neighbourhoods: 6.4% of part-time undergraduate entrants had no previous HE experience and were from a low participation neighbourhood in 2009/10, a decrease on last year when the proportion was 7.4% and less than the proportion for the UK as a whole at 7.2%. (T2b)
• Mature entrants with no previous HE qualification: For mature full-time first degree entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2008/09 with no previous HE qualification, the proportion that were not in HE in 2009/10 was 12.6%, an improvement since 2008/09 when the proportion was 15.9%. The gap between Wales and the UK as a whole has narrowed since 2007/08 and the proportion is now better than the UK as a whole at 13.4% (14.6% in 2008/09). For those with a previous higher education qualification, the proportion no longer in HE at 9.9% (11.6% in 2008/09) continues to be lower than the proportion for the UK as a whole (11.8% in 2009/10, 12.4% in 2008/09). (T3c)
• Continuation: The proportion of full-time other undergraduate entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2008/09 no longer in HE in 2009/10 at 21.2% continues to be higher than for the UK as a whole (15.9%). (T3d)
• Continuation (part-time): The proportion of part-time first degree entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2007/08 no longer in HE in 2009/10 was 30.3%, a similar proportion to 2008/09 (30.1%) and still lower than the UK as a whole at 33.4%. The figure for those aged 30 and under was slightly worse than last year at 32.3% (29.9% in 2008/09) and higher than the proportion for those over 30 (29.1%). For the UK as a whole the proportion for those aged thirty and under at 33.4% was more or less the same as for those aged over thirty at 33.3%. (T3e)
• Continuation: The proportion of full-time first degree entrants to Welsh HEIs in 2007/08 who did not resume study in 2009/10 after a year out of higher education in 2008/09 was 81.3%, higher than last year’s figure of 78.9% and still higher than the UK as a whole at 76.1%. For full-time other undergraduate entrants in 2007/08, 82.2% did not resume study after a year out (an improvement on 2008/09 when the figure was 88.9%) compared with 85.1% for the UK as a whole (the same proportion as the previous year). (T4a & 4b)
• Completion: The proportion of full-time students starting first degree courses in 2008/09 projected to gain a degree is 78.2%, more than for the previous year when the projection was 77.5%, though the proportion is still slightly lower than for the UK as a whole (78.8%). (T5)
• Results: The proportion of modules with results continues to increase and was 85.4% in 2009/10. Of these, 81.1% were passed. Some of this increase is due to improvements in data quality. (T6)
• Disabled students: The proportion of full-time undergraduate students in Welsh HEIs in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) in 2009/10 was 5.7% (5.8% in 2008/09) and continues to be greater than the proportion for the UK as a whole, at 4.8% in 2009/10. The proportion of part-time undergraduate students in receipt of DSA has risen slightly since 2008/09 and was 1.9% in 2009/10. This proportion continues to be lower than for the UK as a whole at 2.9%. (T7)
The annual HESA publication is produced on behalf of the four UK funding bodies and provides performance indicators relating to higher education and is based on data submitted to HESA by publicly-funded HE institutions in the UK for the 2009/10 academic year. To see the data in full, visit: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php/content/view/1990/161/