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HESA SFR142

Higher Education Student Enrolments and Qualifications Obtained at Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom for the Academic Year 2008/09

Introduction

This Statistical First Release (SFR) has been produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in collaboration with statisticians from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), the Scottish Government (SG) and the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DEL(NI)). It has been released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. It provides details of student enrolments and qualifications obtained by higher education (HE) students at HE institutions (HEIs) in the United Kingdom (UK) for the academic year 2008/09.

Readers should be aware that data definitions sometimes change over time and this can affect the validity of time series comparisons. Any significant changes have been explained in the Notes to Editors and/or Definitions.

Please note, key points have been derived from the Excel tables (these can be found below). Comparisons with 2007/08 data have only been included where they can be derived from these tables.

Key points – enrolments (all UK HEIs)

The total number of HE enrolments at UK HEIs stood at 2,396,055 in 2008/09, showing an increase of 4% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 1)

Postgraduate enrolments increased by 7% and undergraduate enrolments increased by 3% between 2007/08 and 2008/09. (Ref. Table 1)

1,540,035 of all enrolments were full-time, an increase in numbers of 4% since 2007/08. The number of part-time enrolments also increased by 4% over the same period. (Ref. Table 1)

The number of full-time first year enrolments increased by 8% between 2007/08 and 2008/09, part-time first year enrolments increased by 6%. (Ref. Table 2)

Between 2007/08 and 2008/09, the number of enrolments of UK domiciled students increased by 3% (from 1,964,315 to 2,027,085). The number of all other European Union (EU) domiciled students increased by 5% (from 112,150 to 117,660). Over the same period, the number of Non-EU domiciled students increased by 9% (from 229,640 to 251,310). (Ref. Table 1)

44% of full-time enrolments in 2008/09 were in science subjects, showing no percentage point change between 2007/08 and 2008/09. (Ref. Table 3)

36% of part-time enrolments in 2008/09 were in science subjects, showing no percentage point change between 2007/08 and 2008/09. (Ref. Table 3)

Key points – qualifications obtained (all UK HEIs)

In 2008/09 there were 333,720 first degree graduates compared to 334,890 in 2007/08, showing no percentage change. (Ref. Table 5)

Of those gaining a classified first degree in 2008/09, 14% obtained a first class honours award compared to 13% in 2007/08, and 48% obtained an upper second class honours award, the same as in the previous year. (Ref. Table 6)

11% of first degree graduates gained their award through part-time study in 2008/09, the same as in the previous year. (Ref. Table 5)

57% of first degree graduates in 2008/09 were women, the same as in the previous year. (Ref. Table 5)

In 2008/09, 41% of first degree graduates achieved their qualification in a science discipline, the same as in the previous year. Of these science graduates, 50% were women, compared to 51% in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 7)

18,850 students were awarded a foundation degree in 2008/09 compared to 14,975 in 2007/08 an increase of 26%. (Ref. Table 5)

The number awarded other undergraduate qualifications (excluding foundation degrees) was 117,280 in 2008/09, a decrease of 6% from  2007/08. (Ref. Table 5)

204,560 students obtained HE qualifications at postgraduate level in 2008/09. Of these, 183,990 (90%) obtained qualifications after following taught postgraduate courses, of which 20,705 were awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and 20,570 (10%) completed their studies mainly by research. (Ref. Table 5)

55,655 undergraduate and 84,090 postgraduate students obtaining HE qualifications in 2008/09 came from non-UK countries. (Ref. Table 5)

Non-UK students accounted for 21% of all students awarded HE qualifications in 2008/09. (Ref. Table 5)

Key points – enrolments (England only)

The total number of HE enrolments at English HEIs stood at 2,005,845 in 2008/09, an increase of 4% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 1a)

1,267,675 of all enrolments were full-time, an increase in numbers of 4% since 2007/08. The number of part-time enrolments increased by 5% over the same period. (Ref. Table 1a)

The number of full-time first year enrolments increased by 8% between 2007/08 and 2008/09, part-time first year enrolments increased by 7% over the same period. (Ref. Table 2a)

Between 2007/08 and 2008/09, the number of enrolments of UK domiciled students increased by 4% (from 1,637,925 to 1,701,060). The number of all other European Union (EU) domiciled students increased by 4% (from 89,010 to 92,885). Over the same period, the number of Non-EU domiciled students increased by 9% (from 195,250 to 211,900). (Ref. Table 1a)

In 2008/09, 97% of English domiciled first year undergraduates studied at English HEIs (excluding The Open University), the same as in 2007/08. Similarly, in 2008/09, 96% of English domiciled first year postgraduates studied at English HEIs (excluding The Open University), the same as in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 4)

Key points – qualifications obtained (England only)

In 2008/09 there were 276,145 first degree graduates compared to 277,685 in 2007/08, a decrease of 1%. (Ref. Table 5a)

Of those gaining a classified first degree in 2008/09, 14% obtained a first class honours award and 48% obtained an upper second class honours award. (Ref. Table 6a)

56% of first degree graduates in 2008/09 were women, compared to 57% in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 5a)

18,050 students were awarded a foundation degree in 2008/09 compared to 14,355 in 2007/08, an increase of 26%. (Ref. Table 5a)

168,415 students obtained HE qualifications at postgraduate level in 2008/09, an increase of 1% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 5a)

Key points – enrolments (Wales only)

The total number of HE enrolments at Welsh HEIs stood at 126,475 in 2008/09, an increase of 1% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 1a)

80,990 of all enrolments were full-time, an increase in numbers of 4% since 2007/08. The number of part-time enrolments fell by 4% over the same period. (Ref. Table 1a)

The number of full-time first year enrolments increased by 5% between 2007/08 and 2008/09, part-time first year enrolments showed no percentage point change. (Ref. Table 2a)

Between 2007/08 and 2008/09, the number of enrolments of UK domiciled students decreased by 1% (from 106,930 to 105,340). The number of all other European Union (EU) domiciled students increased by 7% (from 7,025 to 7,505). Over the same period, the number of Non-EU domiciled students increased by 18% (from 11,585 to 13,630). (Ref. Table 1a)

In 2008/09, 81% of Welsh domiciled first year undergraduates studied at Welsh HEIs (excluding The Open University), the same as in 2007/08. Similarly, in 2008/09, 68% of Welsh domiciled first year postgraduates studied at Welsh HEIs (excluding The Open University), the same as in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 4)

Key points – qualifications obtained (Wales only)

In 2008/09 there were 18,430 first degree graduates compared to 18,815 in 2007/08, a decrease of 2%. (Ref. Table 5a)

Of those gaining a classified first degree in 2008/09, 12% obtained a first class honours award and 46% obtained an upper second class honours award. (Ref. Table 6a)

57% of first degree graduates in 2008/09 were women, the same as in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 5a)

4,550 students were awarded HE qualifications at undergraduate level other than at first degree and foundation degree level in 2008/09, compared to 5,040 in 2007/08, a decrease of 10%. (Ref. Table 5a)

10,940 students obtained HE qualifications at postgraduate level in 2008/09, an increase of 2% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 5a)

Key points – enrolments (Scotland only)

The total number of HE enrolments at Scottish HEIs stood at 215,495 in 2008/09, an increase of 3% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 1a)

156,820 of all enrolments were full-time, an increase in numbers of 5% since 2007/08. The number of part-time enrolments fell by 3% over the same period. (Ref. Table 1a)

The number of full-time first year enrolments increased by 8% between 2007/08 and 2008/09, part-time first year enrolments showed no percentage point change. (Ref. Table 2a)

Between 2007/08 and 2008/09, the number of enrolments of UK domiciled students increased by 1% (from 176,285 to 177,950). The number of all other European Union (EU) domiciled students increased by 10% (from 12,395 to 13,585). Over the same period, the number of Non-EU domiciled students increased by 11% (from 21,500 to 23,960). (Ref. Table 1a)

In 2008/09, 93% of Scottish domiciled first year undergraduates studied at Scottish HEIs (excluding The Open University), compared to 94% in 2007/08. Similarly, in 2008/09, 87% of Scottish domiciled first year postgraduates studied at Scottish HEIs (excluding The Open University), the same as in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 4)

Key points – qualifications obtained (Scotland only)

In 2008/09 there were 30,720 first degree graduates compared to 30,155 in 2007/08, an increase of 2%. (Ref. Table 5a)

Of those gaining a classified first degree in 2008/09, 16% obtained a first class honours award and 52% obtained an upper second class honours award. (Ref. Table 6a)

58% of first degree graduates in 2008/09 were women, the same as in the previous year. (Ref. Table 5a)

7,395 students were awarded HE qualifications at undergraduate level other than at first degree level in 2008/09, compared to 8,305 in 2007/08, a decrease of 11%. (Ref. Table 5a)

21,315 students obtained HE qualifications at postgraduate level in 2008/09, which showed no percentage point change from the previous year. (Ref. Table 5a)

Key points – enrolments (Northern Ireland only)

The total number of HE enrolments at Northern Ireland HEIs stood at 48,240 in 2008/09, showing no percentage change from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 1a)

34,545 of all enrolments were full-time, an increase in numbers of 2% since 2007/08. The number of part-time enrolments fell by 5% over the same period. (Ref. Table 1a)

The number of full-time first year enrolments increased by 2% between 2007/08 and 2008/09, part-time first year enrolments decreased by 3%.  (Ref. Table 2a)

In 2008/09, 74% of Northern Ireland domiciled first year undergraduates studied at Northern Ireland HEIs (excluding The Open University), compared to 75% in 2007/08. Similarly, in 2008/09, 72% of Northern Ireland domiciled first year postgraduates studied at Northern Ireland HEIs (excluding The Open University), the same as in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 4)

Key points – qualifications obtained (Northern Ireland only)

In 2008/09 there were 8,425 first degree graduates compared to 8,240 in 2007/08, an increase of 2%. (Ref. Table 5a)

Of those gaining a classified first degree in 2008/09, 13% obtained a first class honours award and 50% obtained an upper second class honours award. (Ref. Table 6a)

62% of first degree graduates in 2008/09 were women, compared to 61% in 2007/08. (Ref. Table 5a)

3,890 students obtained HE qualifications at postgraduate level in 2008/09, an increase of 10% from 2007/08. (Ref. Table 5a)

Tables 

Table 1 shows All student enrolments on HE courses by level of study, mode of study and domicile 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 1a shows All student enrolments on HE courses by location of institution, mode of study and domicile 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 2 shows First year student enrolments on HE courses by level of study, mode of study and domicile 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 2a shows First year student enrolments on HE courses by location of institution, mode of study and domicile 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 3 shows Student enrolments on HE courses by mode of study, level of study and subject area 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 3a shows Student enrolments on HE courses by location of institution, mode of study, level of study and subject area 2008/09.

Table 4 shows UK domiciled, first year student enrolments on HE courses by domicile, location of institution, mode of study and level of study 2007/08 & 2008/09.

Table 5 shows Qualifications obtained by students on HE courses at HEIs in the UK by mode of study, domicile, gender and level of qualification obtained 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 5a shows Qualifications obtained by students on HE courses at HEIs in the UK by location of institution, mode of study, domicile, gender and level of qualification obtained 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 6 shows Class of degree achieved by students obtaining first degree qualifications at HEIs in the UK by gender and mode of study 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 6a shows Class of degree achieved by students obtaining first degree qualifications at HEIs in the UK by location of institution, gender and mode of study 2008/09.

Table 7 shows Qualifications obtained by students on HE courses at HEIs in the UK by level of qualification obtained, gender and subject area 2004/05 to 2008/09.

Table 7a shows Qualifications obtained by students on HE courses at HEIs in the UK by location of institution, level of qualification obtained, gender and subject area 2008/09.

Download all tables (xls)

None of the tables presented should be interpreted without reference to the Notes to editors and Definitions provided below.

Notes to editors

  1. The data presented in this SFR is based on the 2008/09 HESA Student Record. The statistics in this SFR are derived by HESA from data collected from all publicly funded HEIs in the UK (including The Open University - see definition 5) and from 2004/05 onwards from The University of Buckingham, which is privately funded. The figures therefore exclude HE enrolments and qualifications obtained by students registered at further education colleges and at other private and independent HE colleges.

    The 2008/09 data for HE enrolments in further education colleges in the UK is not included in this SFR, however it will be published in Table 0 of the HESA publication, Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom, in September 2010. 

  2. There were considerable changes in the enrolments and qualifiers data collection from 2007/08 onwards. As a result some time series data relating to 2004/05 to 2006/07 within this release will not correspond to previously published HESA data.

  3. The specification of the HESA Standard Registration Population has changed for enrolments for 2007/08 onwards. Writing-up and sabbatical students are now excluded from this population where they were previously included in published enrolment data. In order to maintain time series accuracy, all data for 2004/05 to 2006/07 has been run using the 2007/08 definition of the Standard Registration Population (excluding writing-up and sabbatical students). As a result, enrolment data will not match other previously published HESA data for the years 2004/05 to 2006/07. 

    The table below shows writing-up and sabbatical student enrolments for the years 2005/06 to 2008/09 split by location of institution.

      2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09
    England HEIs 41,585 45,140 37,805 35,995
    Wales HEIs 3,520 3,535 3,695 3,570
    Scotland HEIs 7,990 7,970 7,245 6,610
    Northern Ireland HEIs 1,780 1,470 1,075 205
    Total all HEIs 54,875 58,110 49,825 46,380

  4. From 2007/08, the field ‘gender' changed to be consistent with the Aligned Data Definitions adopted by the Information Standards Board for education, skills, and children's services. Students of ‘indeterminate gender' are included in total figures but not in separate breakdowns.

  5. Students with a domicile of ‘UK unknown' have been included in total figures but not in separate breakdowns.

  6. First degree qualifiers with a classification of ‘not applicable' have been included in total figures but not in separate breakdowns. These qualifiers are also not included in percentage calculations. 

  7. The figures presented in this SFR include all qualifications submitted to HESA by a reporting deadline, however this deadline has changed over the years. The last change in reporting deadline occurred in the academic year 2000/01. Details of reporting schedules are given in earlier versions of this SFR. These changes are not thought to have affected the number of qualifications reported.

  8. As a consequence of a problem identified with data submitted by an institution in 2004/05, a number of students were not returned as first years although included in the all year figure. The error affected data only for the 2004/05 academic year and was corrected for 2005/06. However as a result, the increase in first year enrolments between 2004/05 and 2005/06 appears greater than in reality, particularly in respect of undergraduate entrants. More detail about this anomalous reporting can be found in SFR 107.

    In 2006/07 an institution in Scotland misreported a number of awards (1,295) as ordinary degrees, showing in the tables as unclassified awards. This should be taken into account when looking at time series in Table 6.

    In 2006/07 an institution in Northern Ireland reported a number of unknown domiciles (955), mostly on short credit bearing courses within their Open Learning Programme. Consequently the number of Northern Ireland students in Northern Ireland institutions may be under-reported by this amount.

    In the years 2004/05 to 2006/07, an institution in Scotland misreported a number of part-time students as taught postgraduate when they should have been classified as undergraduate. As a result, taught postgraduate figures in Table 5a may be over-reported for the years 2004/05 to 2006/07.

    In 2008/09, an institution in England misreported 305 other undergraduate incoming exchange students as non exchange students. As a result these students appear in the enrolment figures where they would have usually been excluded.

    In 2008/09, an institution in Wales showed a drop of 2,195 part-time enrolments. This is due to those students being recorded as dormant which automatically excludes them from enrolment data. This should be taken into account when looking at part-time time series.

    Prior to 2008/09, an institution in Scotland missed a number of awards from their qualifications obtained data submission. From 2008/09, these awards have now been included in the submission and have resulted in an increase in number of qualifications obtained. This should be taken into account when looking at time series for qualifications obtained.

  9. In 2008/09 an institution in Northern Ireland mis-reported a number of part-time students (280) as non-EU domicile. Consequently this has a considerable effect on the number and percentage change from 2007/08 to 2008/09 of non-EU and UK domiciled students in Northern Ireland institutions. As a result, part-time and total data by domicile for Northern Ireland HEIs has been suppressed from table 1a and 2a. This may also result in some under-reporting of domicile figures in table 4 though the effect is not judged to be of sufficient magnitude to warrant suppression.

  10. In 2008/09, an institution in Northern Ireland mis-coded a number of part-time, other undergraduate post-registration nursing and midwifery qualifiers (525). Consequently the number of part-time other undergraduate qualifiers at institutions in Northern Ireland has been under-reported by this amount. As a result, affected data in tables 5a and 7a has been suppressed.

  11. Foundation degrees have not been introduced in Scotland. As numbers of foundation degree students in Wales and Northern Ireland are small, these are not separately reported in the text of this SFR.

  12. A statistical reference volume ‘Students in Higher Education Institutions 2008/09' based on the HESA Student Record and setting out more information about students in higher education in the UK will be published by HESA in March 2010.

  13. For the purposes of Table 4, ‘England HEIs' does not include data for The Open University. Data for this institution is shown separately and included in total figures. For all other tables, The Open University is included within ‘England HEIs'. 

Definitions 

  1. Higher education 

    Higher education (HE) students for the purpose of HESA's data collection are those students on courses for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (e.g. courses at the level of Certificate of HE and above).

    The reporting period for the 2008/09 student record is 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009  

  2. Level of study/qualification obtained 

    Postgraduate programmes of study are those leading to higher degrees, diplomas and certificates (including Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and professional qualifications) and usually require that entrants are already qualified to degree level (i.e. already qualified at level 6 of the QCA National Qualifications Framework).

    First degree includes first degrees with or without eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body, first degrees with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC), enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees. 

    Foundation degrees were first introduced in September 2001. They are vocational higher education qualifications and are at level 5 of the QCA National Qualifications Framework.

    Other undergraduate includes qualification aims equivalent to and below first degree level, such as Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), foundation degrees, diplomas in HE with eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care or veterinary statutory regulatory body, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at HE level, NVQ/SVQ levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level, professional qualifications at undergraduate level, other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including post registration health and social care courses, other formal HE qualifications of less than degree standard, institutional undergraduate credit and no formal undergraduate qualifications. 

  3. Mode of study - enrolments 

    Full-time students are those normally required to attend an institution for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year of study, on thick or thin sandwich courses, and those on a study-related year out of their institution. During that time students are normally expected to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week. 

    Part-time students are those recorded as studying part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings only.

    Mode of study - qualifications obtained

    Full-time students are those whose study was recorded as full-time (as described above), and also includes awards from dormant and writing-up status where the student's mode of study was previously full-time.

    Part-time students are those whose study was recorded as part-time (as described above), and also includes awards from dormant and writing-up status where the student's mode of study was previously part-time, and awards given to those on sabbatical. 

  4. Domicile 

    UK domiciled students are those whose normal residence is in the UK, and for the purposes of this publication include Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. (Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU).

    On 1 May 2004 ten new countries joined the EU and on 1 January 2007 two additional countries joined; the 2004 and 2007 accession countries, and these are listed below. Up to 2003/04, the 2004 accession countries are included in the ‘Non-EU' category in the tables; as from 2004/05 these countries are included in the ‘Other EU' category. In the same way, up to 2006/07 the 2007 accession countries are included in the ‘Non-EU' category in the tables; as from 2007/08 these countries are included in the ‘Other EU' category. 

    The table below illustrates the position regarding student enrolments in HE using HESA standard definitions. The brackets indicate the figures for the 2007 accession countries prior to their inclusion 1 January 2007.

      2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09
    EU countries excluding UK 93,995* 99,985 105,410 112,150 117,660
    ..of which
    EU countries prior to 1 May 2004 83,170 83,715 83,560 89,305 89,165
    EU 2004 accession countries 10,825 16,275 21,850 20,415 24,150
    EU 2007 accession countries (1,050) (1,120) (1,295) 2,430 4,345

    2004 accession countries: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

    2007 accession countries: Romania, Bulgaria 

    * The data in this cell was corrected on 08 March 2010. The data which was previously displayed in this cell was incorrect and HESA apologises for this error.

  5. Location of institution 

    The allocation of an institution to a geographical region is done by reference to the administrative centre of that institution. There may be students registered at institutions who are studying in regions other than that of the administrative centre of the institution.

    The Open University is counted as a wholly English institution. The administrative centre is located in England, although The Open University teaches throughout the UK.  

  6. Classification of first degrees

    The classification of an undergraduate degree indicates the qualification class that the student obtained. Certain qualifications obtained at first degree level are not subject to classification of the award, notably medical and general degrees. These, together with ordinary degrees and aegrotat qualifications, have been included within the unclassified category. Third class honours, fourth class honours and the pass category have been aggregated. Lower second and undivided second class honours have been aggregated. The percentage calculations included in this SFR are expressed excluding unclassified first degrees from the denominator. 

  7. First year

    First year students are based on the HESA standard registration population who commenced their instance in the relevant reporting period. The term 'instance' is used to describe a student's engagement with the institution aiming towards the award of a qualification(s) or credit.  

  8. Age

    Age is as at 31 August within the relevant academic year. 

  9. Rounding Strategy

    In the text and tables the figures presented are rounded, 0, 1 and 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down, to the nearest 5. Percentages are calculated on the base data and are suppressed if they are calculated on a population which contains 52 or fewer individuals. These cases are represented as '..'. 

  10. Press enquiries should be directed to the Press office at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ, telephone: 01242 211120. General enquiries about the data contained within this SFR should be addressed to James McLaren, Information Provision Manager, HESA (at the same address), telephone: 01242 211133.

    ENDS