MORE students drop out of courses at Huddersfield University than any other in Yorkshire.
About one in nine students who started at the university in the academic year 2004-05 quit before the end of their degree.
But the figure is a marginal improvement on that for the previous three years.
And the university claims it is winning the battle to retain under-graduates for the whole of their course.
A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee showed 88.5% of students who started at Huddersfield in 2004-05 completed their degrees.
Bradford had the next worse record, with a figure of 89.8%. Trinity and All Saints College in Leeds (90.6%) was third.
Sheffield and York universities were best at keeping their students. In both cases 96.7% of students stayed on.
But Huddersfield’s figure was a 0.5% improvement on the number of students who started in 2001-02 and finished their degrees.
And it was significantly better than the average national drop-out rate of 22%.
The university’s PR manager John Ramsdin said the figures were largely due to the type of students Huddersfield attracted.
He said: “The University of Huddersfield has earned a reputation as one of the foremost institutions in the country for encouraging people from non-traditional backgrounds – mature students and those from lower socio-economic groups – to enter higher education.
“This is something we are very proud of and it is something that we will continue to do.
“However, we are aware that these students face more difficulties, particularly in their early period of study, than the traditional A-level students and, as such, we put in place a range of ‘safety nets’ to allow them to gain confidence and succeed.
“These measures were introduced a few years ago and the university is now retaining more students than it ever has before.
“We can only see this continuing to improve in the coming years.
“The university currently welcomes over 22,500 students, and our staff work very hard to see that they succeed in their studies and go on to successful careers.”
Conservative MP Edward Leigh, who is chairman of the public accounts committee, said the drop-out figures were an indictment of Government efforts to stop people quitting.
He said: “It is five years on from our last report on student retention but the percentage of students dropping out from their original universities has not budged.
“This is despite some £800m being paid to universities over the same period to help retain students most likely to withdraw from courses early.
“To be fair to the universities, they are expected to improve retention figures while increasing and widening participation.”