Where do HE students come from?
Changes to data coverage mean that the latest student data differs from previously published data. Expand this box for more information.
Student data published by HESA prior to 2021 related mainly to data about all publicly funded HE providers in the UK (and the University of Buckingham) and HE level provision at further education (FE) colleges in Wales. This equated to all providers submitting data to the HESA Student record. This year we are combining data from both the HESA Student record and the HESA Student alternative record to provide a more complete picture of higher education within the UK. This means that the tables and charts within this release include data about:
- Higher education (HE) providers in England registered with the Office for Students (OfS) in the Approved (fee cap) or Approved categories;
- Publicly funded HE providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; and
- Further education (FE) colleges in Wales.
For users wishing to undertake time-series analysis that make use of data drawn exclusively from the HESA Student record (and therefore comparable with the coverage of tables and charts previously published) this release additionally offers the option to download the source data for each table and chart based on that record alone. This can be done by clicking the link to 'Download source data 051 record only (csv)' underneath each table and chart. Please note that there have been coverage changes over time to both the Student and Student alternative record which can affect the validity of time series comparisons. Any significant changes have been explained in the definitions.
There are known areas in which the pandemic has had some impact on the 2019/20 Student data. Expand this box for more information.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020 part way through the 2019/20 academic year. The pandemic did not have any notable impact on student enrolment figures for 2019/20, but did have an impact on qualifications awarded.
Administrative delays related to the pandemic at a few providers meant that significant numbers of qualifications were not reported during the data collection process. The impact can be seen in the decrease in the number of qualifications achieved in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19, particularly among part-time students. These qualifications are expected to be reported to HESA in the 2020/21 data collection.
Many providers issued public statements that a ‘no detriment’ approach to assessment would be adopted in response to the pandemic. This typically ensured that students would be awarded a final grade no lower than the most recent provider assessment of their attainment. The impact can be seen in the increase in the proportion of first class degrees awarded in 2019/20 compared with 2018/19.
The following tables and charts include information on where UK HE students come from (their domicile). Some information is taken from our Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2019/20 statistical bulletin.
All tables and charts include a link underneath allowing you to download the data. Many tables also include a link to download the complete source data as a machine-readable csv file.
The table below provides the greatest detail on where UK HE students come from. The rows display UK counties/unitary authorities and countries - use the Domicile marker drop-down to show only other EU or non-EU countries.
Table 11 - HE student enrolments by domicile and region of HE provider
Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20
Display region of HE provider as:
The chart below is restricted to students in their first year of a course. This gives an indication of the annual inflow of non-UK students.
Click and drag to highlight an area on the chart below to zoom in. Right-click to reset the view.
The following table details non-UK country of domicile by HE provider. Use the regional radio buttons to access further detail on individual countries.
Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile
Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20
The chart below shows the proportion of non-UK domiciled students on different kinds of courses. Full-time postgraduate courses tend to have a relatively high proportion of non-UK domicile students.
Changes to aggregate offshore data mean that the latest data differs from previous years' data. Expand this box for more information.
The tables and charts below show information from the HESA Aggregate offshore record, capturing students studying wholly outside the UK who are either registered with a UK HE provider or who are studying for an award of a UK HE provider. Notable changes to the record in 2019/20 mean this data should be interpreted with caution.
In 2018/19 and earlier years, the Aggregate offshore record included all publicly funded HE providers in the UK and the University of Buckingham. From 2019/20, coverage expanded to include all English providers registered with the Office for Students’ (OfS) in the Approved (fee cap) and Approved categories and all publicly funded HE providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Additionally, Oxford Brookes changed their reporting practices for the 2019/20 academic year around which students they include in their Aggregate Offshore return. This led to a drop of 256,450 students this year for this provider, resulting in a significant drop to the overall number of student enrolments based wholly overseas.
These tables and charts look at students who study for awards or courses of UK universities, but study overseas without coming to the UK. Data on these students is returned via HESA's Aggregate offshore record, and these students are counted separately from the HESA Student record population. See the Aggregate offshore definitions for more information.
HE Student Data pages
- Who's studying in HE?
- Where do HE students come from?
- Where do HE students study?
- What do HE students study?
- What are HE students' progression rates and qualifications?
- Contents of releases
Support and contacts
- Introduction to our data on HE students
- Pre-release access to official statistics
- Sign up for HESA Open data alerts
+44 (0) 1242 388 513 (option 6), [email protected]
+44 (0) 1242 388 513 (option 2), [email protected]
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