The current figure for non-completion of higher education courses sits at around 22 percent. As the number of 18 year olds declines and with students facing tougher financial and academic circumstances, this presents a serious challenge for higher education to improve strategies to maintain and improve student retention. The current financial climate is raising questions about the validity of higher education as a career path. Colleges and universities need to make progress in reducing student drop-out rates and improve ways to keep students in higher education, even in difficult circumstances. This conference brought together representatives from across the higher education sector. Drawing on successful case studies, it set out strategies in student retention, how to tackle financial difficulty and ensuring students have the right guidance and support when making decisions about progression.