Who's studying in HE?
The tables and charts on this page provide information on who is studying in higher education. Some information is taken from our Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2017/18, Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18 statistical bulletin and our UK Performance Indicators: Widening Participation, 2017/18 releases, which contain further analysis.
Please note that some tables within this page include data from alternative providers. The titles reflect this on those tables where this is the case.
All tables and charts include a link underneath allowing you to download the data you see on screen, including filters. Many tables also include a link to download the complete source data as a machine-readable csv file.
The following tables and charts contain information on the numbers of students in higher education.
Level of study is determined by the qualification that a student is aiming for.
HESA student figures include anyone enrolled for more than two weeks on a higher education (HE) course that is primarily based in the UK, unless they are an incoming exchange student, on sabbatical, writing-up or dormant. HE level students at further education (FE) colleges in Wales are included, but not students at FE colleges in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
See the definition of Standard registration population for more detail. For students studying primarily outside the UK, see our transnational education data. Unless otherwise stated, figures exclude students at alternative higher education providers.
First degrees are those that, for the most part, lead to a bachelor's degree qualification such as BA or BSc. See the definition for Level of study for more detail.
The following table provides data on the breadth of UK student enrolments, including data on HE students at publicly funded HE providers, HE students on designated courses at alternative providers, and HE students at FE colleges. For more details on alternative HE providers, see our Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18 release.
The table below shows the number of students at each HE provider. Use the buttons on the right to show a breakdown by sex or domicile (UK/EU/Non-EU). Use the filters to restrict to first year students only, full- or part-time students, or a particular level of study.
Table 1 - HE student enrolments by HE provider
Academic years 2014/15 to 2017/18
The following table provides data on the breadth of UK student enrolments, including data on HE students at publicly funded HE providers, HE students on designated courses at alternative providers, and HE students at Welsh FE colleges. FE provider level data for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is not included. For more details on alternative HE providers, see our Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18 release.
Subjects are coded according to the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS). Detailed subject codes are grouped into Principal subjects, which are then grouped into 19 Subject areas. Use the 'Subject of study' filter on the above table to switch between the 19 Subject areas and the more detailed Principal subjects.
The following table provides overview information on all students broken down by sex, age group and disability status, and on UK domiciled students broken down by ethnicity.
The following table summarises some of our published measures of widening participation.
Local areas are given a score of 1-5 based on how many young people from those areas have historically gone into higher education. The 20% of areas with the lowest proportion of young people entering HE are called 'Low participation neighbourhoods'. POLAR stands for 'Participation of Local Areas' and is calculated by OfS (Office for Students). POLAR is re-calculated every few years. This data is only returned to HESA for students who apply through UCAS, so to align with the cohort who typically enter through this route, the table has been restricted to undergraduate UK domiciled full-time students. Please note that POLAR low participation data has not been produced for HE providers in Scotland, to align with the HESA Performance Indicators. As such, low participation figures for all countries in a given year, will not sum to totals represented at the bottom of the table.
Widening participation statistics by HE provider are published in the UK Performance Indicators. The following two charts indicate how the proportion of entrants to HE from under-represented backgrounds has changed over time.
The number of first year postgraduate taught students continues to increase with a 4% increase on 2016/17 in 2017/18.
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
- Historical data
- Information on staff, graduates and HE providers
- Widening participation 2017/18 - UK Performance Indicators
- Higher Education Student Statistics: UK 2017/18 - Statistical Bulletin
- Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2016/17 - Statistical First Release
- Custom data and analysis request form
- Application data from UCAS
Support and contacts
- Introduction to our data on HE students
- Give us your feedback
- Pre-release access to official statistics
+44 (0) 1242 211 120, [email protected]
+44 (0) 1242 211 494, [email protected]
For data analytics underpinned by trusted HESA data visit Jisc's data analytics directorate: