One in 15 students drop out of courses at The University of Winchester within a year, new data shows.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan says institutions are "letting talent go to waste" by being too slow to tackle the number of students dropping out of higher education before their second year.

New data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that 1,800 students aged under 21 began a full-time first degree course at The University of Winchester in the 2017-18 academic year.

Of those, 125 had quit before the second year.

That means the non-continuation rate for young entrants was 6.8% – ​though this was ​in line with the national average of 6.8%.

​The dropout rate for mature students at The University of Winchester was​ ​higher – in 2017-18, 12.4% of its 235 mature students left before the second year.

Nationally, the rate of young starters dropping out of higher education before the second year has risen from 6.5% since 2016-17, and is at its highest rate for four years.

The Office for Students, the country's higher education watchdog, said the latest figures are "concerning."

OfS chief executive, Nicola Dandridge, said: “These figures show that the rate of both young and mature students choosing not to continue their studies has increased.

"Rates vary significantly between different higher education providers, and a number of providers will need to think seriously about what they can do to reduce these rates.

“Where we have concerns about performance at individual providers, we will continue to take action as necessary to ensure that students from all backgrounds are able to fully realise the many life-changing benefits of higher education.”

The University of Bedfordshire had the highest non-continuation rate of 18.3% in 2017-18, while The University of Cambridge had the lowest, at 1%.

The dropout rate for young entrants at The University of Winchester in 2011-12, the year before the latest university tuition fee rise came into effect, was 4.6%. Nationally, it was 5.7%.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “With high numbers of students continuing to drop out, this data shows progress is slow from some institutions to tackle the issue. I want universities to step up and take action as we cannot let these students down and let talent go to waste.

“We are empowering students to make more informed choices when it comes to studying after the age of 16. This includes publishing more data than ever before on degree outcomes and teaching quality at universities.”

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