Leading article: Drop-out costs

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Today's report showing that the drop-out rate from university is 14.1 per cent is supposed to reassure us that things are improving.

Today's report showing that the drop-out rate from university is 14.1 per cent is supposed to reassure us that things are improving. Last year the drop-out rate was 15 per cent, and in previous years it was higher still. But there is no cause for complacency. However much universities have tried to wean themselves from dependence on state funding - and a lot have - British higher education is heavily funded by the taxpayer. Neither the flat-rate fee nor top-up fees will cover the true cost of teaching undergraduates. So, the drop-out rate needs to be as low as possible. And that means universities have to invest heavily to make their courses and teaching as user-friendly as possible.

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