Scottish universities better UK average for retention for first time in a generation

Responding to the latest HESA data release on non-continuation of studies, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:

The fact that this is the first time in 19 years that the retention rate in Scotland is better than the UK average is significant and a cause for celebration. The sector and individual institutions have dedicated significant time and effort to ensure that students get the most of their studies and time at university.

Retention is such an important part of the task of widening access. Universities’ goal is to support students to achieve successful outcomes and that’s a much bigger and more meaningful responsibility than just getting students into university.

Unplanned exits from university can feel like a really big setback for students. We will take heart from today’s figures but we know the work to improve retention will continue at all our universities with continued investment in student support, creating a welcoming campus for students of all ages, background and experience.


  • Non-continuation summary: UK Performance Indicators 2016/17 data is available here on the HESA website.
  • The percentage of UK domiciled entrants not continuing in HE after their first year by location of HE provider for young people has fallen from 7.9% in 1997/98 to 6.2% in 2015/16. The UK average in 2015/16 was 6.4%.