Question: “Almost £1bn” spent on keeping students in university – where does it go?

As part of an investigation, one of my students came across a statistic from 2008 that mentioned spending on preventing students from dropping out of university:

“A report by MPs on the powerful Commons public accounts committee [said] more than £800 million had been spent in the last five years alone attempting to stop students dropping out of university.”

Can you help find the data? And bring it up to date?

UPDATE: Lucy Chambers from government spending data site OpenSpending provides the following response:

“Here at – our suggestion would be to try and find out the name of the programme under which the money was allocated.

“We have UK Departmental Spending in OpenSpending currently only for the first 6 months that it was released from 2010 (we’re working currently on getting the up to date data in, but automating the process will take a little while – update soon). This means that whilst it won’t be possible with the data we currently have to identify data for the entire period over which the money was spent, if you have the name of the programme, you should be able to identify how much was spent per month for the available months.

“Nevertheless, if you would be willing to FOI for the historic data – we would be happy to help you to work with it!

“Hope that helps.”

About Paul Bradshaw

Founder of Help Me Investigate. I'm a visiting professor at City University London's School of Journalism, and run an MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University. I publish the Online Journalism Blog, and am the co-author of the Online Journalism Handbook and Magazine Editing (3rd edition). I have a particular interest in Freedom of Information and data journalism.
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