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UK Universities Predict Record Student Dropout Rate | Education


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Jenni Woods, Access Director at Kingston University, who paid £ 900,000 to struggling students during the pandemic: "It was very important that we alleviated that financial pressure." Photograph: Linda Nylind / the guardian

“I already have some anxiety and not having enough money in my senior year increased that,” she says. "It was such an overwhelming feeling to have so much pressure coming from all different angles."

Hariz's history is repeated throughout the country. At the University of the West of England in Bristol, leaders are seriously considering diverting money, intended to expand participation, into their student assistance fund after a large increase in aid applications.

Professor Steve West, the Vice Chancellor, says: “We are saying, please come and talk to us early. When financial problems escalate, that's when mental health begins to suffer. "

Michelle Morgan, a former academic who advises universities on the student experience, fears that many new students will find it difficult to adjust to online learning and says existing students may be less engaged after months of studying in their rooms at home. "There is an assumption that today's young people are digital natives who will have no problem teaching online. That could be the case of social networks, but it is definitely not the case of learning ", he says.

Morgan worries that many rookies won't be able to cope with the huge transition from lockdown to college. “You have students starting college this year who in the last seven months have lost the discipline of learning and time management. They knew they didn't have A-level exams, so they've been downsizing, "he says.

Many universities have invested in sophisticated data analysis to track their students online, not only monitoring whether they are viewing lectures and using the electronic library, but also how much time they spend looking at particular pages. At UWE, for example, West says that if a student's online study patterns change, an alert will be triggered and a coach will contact them to see if they need help.

But Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, director of the University of Leeds Center for Lifelong Learning, says: “It's obvious if someone doesn't show up for a physical tutorial, but it can be much more difficult to tell if a student is participating online. "Your center has a team of 'student advocates' during the first quarter to help verify that students are administering their course.

The center offers nursing internships and Stevenson is aware that students from nurses may need additional support. “Some have been dealing with very difficult job challenges during the pandemic, in addition to being parents or caregivers.”

Hillman says the dropout rate will depend on how good colleges are for support your students. “You can stop it if your students have a sense of belonging and if you catch problems early,” he says.

However, Stevenson thinks that for some students, taking a break from their course will do the trick. rather, rather than a catastrophe. "Abandonment can be a pejorative term and you are caught up in the idea of ​​failure. But if someone makes the sensible decision to leave and can return more s late to finish your course, that should be celebrated. A student can carry that feeling of failure with him for a long time. ”

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