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Where do HE students come from?

HE Student Data Where do HE students come from?

On this page: Detailed breakdown | Changes over time | Non-UK domicile | Domicile by level of study | Transnational education

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.

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.

Detailed breakdown

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:

 
 
 
 
 
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Changes over time

Figure 9 - HE student enrolments by domicile

Academic years 2015/16 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 

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.

 

Key fact: Since 2012/13 the number of entrants from China each year has exceeded the number from all EU countries combined.

Chart 6 - First year non-UK domiciled students by domicile

Academic years 2006/07 to 2019/20

 

Key fact: The number of entrants from China has increased by 20% from 2018/19 to 2019/20.

 

Click and drag to highlight an area on the chart below to zoom in. Right-click to reset the view.

Figure 11 - Top ten EU and non-EU countries of domicile (excluding the UK) in 2019/20 for HE student enrolments

Academic years 2015/16 and 2019/20

 
 
 
 

Key fact: Between 2018/19 and 2019/20, the proportion of first year non-UK domiciled students from India significantly rose from 7% to 13%.

Non-UK domiciled students

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

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Table 28 - Non-UK HE students by HE provider and country of domicile

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Domicile by level of study

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.

Figure 8 - HE student enrolments by level of study, mode of study and domicile

Academic year 2019/20

 
 

Transnational education

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.

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

 

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

Chart 5 - Transnational students studying wholly overseas for a UK higher education qualification

Academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20

 

Note: Only showing countries with over 1000 transnational students

Figure 12 - HE student enrolments based wholly overseas by location and type of provision

Academic years 2015/16 to 2019/20

 
 
 

View more detailed data on transnational education

Next: Where do HE students study?

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