Higher education student enrolments and qualifications obtained at higher education institutions in the United Kingdom for the academic year 2005/06
This Statistical First Release (SFR) has been produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in collaboration with Department for Education and Skills (DfES) statisticians. 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 2005/06.
Readers should be aware that data definitions sometimes change over time and this can affect the validity of time series comparisons. Within this release any significant changes have been explained in the Notes to Editors and/or Definitions. However, readers should exercise caution when comparing this release to earlier editions or other related publications as definitional changes may not be apparent.
Due to some anomalous reporting of students in 2004/05, the trends derived from comparing the actual numbers reported by institutions give a somewhat distorted picture of changes between 2004/05 and 2005/06. Therefore, in addition to the actual numbers reported, Tables 1-3 contain figures for the two most recent years which take account of this anomalous reporting. Unless otherwise stated, the trends derived and used in the key points presented are based on the actual numbers reported. These anomalies mainly affect enrolments on, and entrants to, part-time postgraduate and undergraduate courses. The qualifications obtained are not affected by these anomalies. More details of these anomalies are given in Notes to Editors 8.
Key Points - Enrolments
The total number of HE enrolments at UK HEIs stood at 2,336,110 in 2005/06, an increase of 2% from 2004/05.
Postgraduate enrolments increased by 2% and undergraduate enrolments increased by 2% between 2004/05 and 2005/06.
1,433,040 of all enrolments were full-time, an increase in numbers of 3% since 2004/05. The number of part-time enrolments grew by 2% (1% including The Open University (OU)) over the same period. For further details see Notes to Editors 8.
The number of full-time first year enrolments increased by 4% between 2004/05 and 2005/06, part-time first year enrolments also increased by 1% (6% when including the OU). For further details see Notes to Editors 8.
Between 2004/05 and 2005/06, the number of enrolments of UK domiciled students increased by 2%. The number of all other European Union (EU) domiciled students increased by 6%. Over the same period, the number of other overseas domiciled students increased by 2%.
45% of full-time enrolments in 2005/06 are in science subjects, an increase in numbers of 2% between 2004/05 and 2005/06, and an increase in numbers of 6% between 2002/03 and 2005/06.
40% of part-time enrolments in 2005/06 are in science subjects (37% including the OU), an increase in numbers of 2% between 2004/05 and 2005/06 (the same percentage whether including or excluding the OU). For further details see Notes to Editors 7 and 8.
Key Points - Qualifications Obtained
In 2005/06 there were 315,985 first degree graduates compared to 306,365 in 2004/05, an increase of 3%.
Of those gaining a first degree in 2005/06, 12% obtained a first class honours award; the same as in 2004/05, and 47% obtained an upper second class honours award, the same as in the previous year.
12% of first degree graduates gained their award through part-time study in 2005/06, compared to 11% in 2004/05.
57% of first degree graduates in 2005/06 were women, compared to 56% in 2004/05.
In 2005/06, 42% 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 49% in 2004/05.
9,275 students were awarded a foundation degree in 2005/06 compared to 6,175 in 2004/05.
The number awarded other undergraduate qualifications (excluding foundation degrees) was 117,310 in 2005/06, a decrease of 9% from 2004/05. For further details see Notes to Editors 8.
198,280 students obtained HE qualifications at postgraduate level in 2005/06. Of these, 29,000 (15%) were awarded a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), 20,975 (11%) completed their studies mainly by research, and a further 148,305 (75%) obtained qualifications after following taught postgraduate courses other than PGCE.
47,455 undergraduate and 72,685 postgraduate students obtaining HE qualifications in 2005/06 came from non-UK countries.
Non-UK students accounted for 19% of all students awarded HE qualifications in 2005/06.
Table 1 shows all student enrolments on HE courses by level of study, mode of study and domicile, 2001/02 to 2005/06.
Table 2 shows first year student enrolments on HE courses by level of study, mode of study and domicile, 2001/02 to 2005/06.
Table 3 shows student enrolments on HE courses by mode of study, level of study and subject area, 2002/03 to 2005/06.
Table 4 shows the qualifications obtained by students on HE courses at HEIs in the UK by mode of study, domicile, gender and level of qualification obtained, 2001/02 to 2005/06.
Table 5 shows the class of degree achieved by students obtaining first degree qualifications at HEIs in the UK by gender and mode of study, 2001/02 to 2005/06.
Table 6 shows the qualifications obtained by students on HE courses at HEIs in the UK by level of qualification obtained, gender and subject area, 2002/03 to 2005/06.
None of the tables presented should be interpreted without reference to the Notes to Editors and Definitions provided below. Notice especially Notes to Editors 8 which is relevant to data for the two most recent years in Tables 1 to 3.
Notes to Editors
The data presented in this SFR is based on the 2005/06 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) 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 at further education colleges and at other private and independent HE colleges.
The 2005/06 data for HE enrolments in further education colleges in the UK is not included in this SFR, however it will be published in Table 0a of the HESA publication, Higher Education Statistics for the UK, in September 2007.
- Enrolment figures within this SFR are different from those previously published. The HESA standard registration population has been used in preference to a 1 December (snap shot) population. The difference being that the standard registration population counts enrolments throughout the year, rather than just those active on 1 December.
- Classification of first degrees has also changed from previous years to bring it in line with the standard HESA definition. This change relates principally to the Pass and Unclassified categories, and to the percentage calculation of class of degree, reference Definitions 6 below.
- A number of qualifications awarded have been adjusted in previous years to take account of differences in reporting practices, mis-coding or mis-reporting of qualifiers by some institutions. Details of these adjustments can be found in earlier versions of this SFR.
- The figures presented in this SFR include all qualifications submitted to HESA by a reporting deadline, however this deadline has changed over the years. 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.
Tables by subject area (3 and 6) are shown only from 2002/03 onwards. This is because from 2002/03 onwards, the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) of subject classification has been used as the basis for grouping by subject area in the HESA returns, replacing HESACODE. Although JACS and HESACODE look similar and are closely related, they are not by any means identical, and so are not directly comparable.
A new procedure of apportionment was also introduced in 2002/03 for dealing with students, notably those on combined/split programmes.
Details of both the differences between HESACODE and JACS and this apportionment algorithm can be found here.
- The reduction in numbers on combined programmes shown in 2003/04 in Table 3 is attributable to improved reporting practice. A concomitant increase in individual subject classification affects the time series presented.
As a consequence of a problem identified with data submitted by The Open University (OU) 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.
This SFR therefore shows enrolment figures both including and excluding the OU in Tables 1, 2 and 3 and in the key points above.
The Open University is the largest institution in terms of student numbers and so any fluctuation in their data can have a disproportionate effect on the overall sector level figures. For example, this institution accounts for 19% of part-time HE students.
- The 2005/06 figures in this SFR are provisional; the data presented is as reported to HESA by HEIs.
- A statistical reference volume Students in Higher Education Institutions, 2005/06 setting out more information about students in higher education in the UK will be published by HESA in Spring 2007.
Higher education students are those students on courses that are of a standard that is higher than the Advanced Level of the General Certificate of Education, the Higher Grade of the Scottish Certificate of Education, GNVQ/NVQ level 3 or the BTEC or SCOTVEC National Certificate/Diploma.
- The figures presented in Tables 3 and 6 of this SFR are produced using an apportionment algorithm. See Notes to Editors 6.
Level of study/qualification obtained
Postgraduate courses are those leading to higher degrees and diplomas and certificates (including postgraduate certificates of education and professional qualifications), which usually require a first degree as an entry qualification.
First degrees include first degrees, first degree leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body, first degrees with qualified teacher status, 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 in the QCA National Qualifications Framework.
Other undergraduate HE includes all HE courses not listed above (e.g. post registration health and social care courses, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma, Diploma in HE leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care regulatory body, etc).
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 programme 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. Part-time also includes other modes of study such as those students writing-up theses or on sabbatical, except where these have been tabulated separately.
Mode of study – qualifications obtained
Full-time students are those whose study was recorded as full-time (described as above), including sandwich students. Awards from dormant status and those writing-up theses are also included where a student’s mode of study was previously full-time.
Part-time students are those whose study was recorded as part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings. Awards from dormant status and those writing-up theses are also included where a student’s mode of study was previously part-time.
UK domiciled students are those normally resident in the United Kingdom, including those living in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
On 1 May 2004 ten new countries joined the EU; the 2004 accession countries, and these are listed below. Up to 2003/04 these countries are included in the ‘Non-EU’ category in the tables; as from 2004/05 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 accession countries prior to their inclusion on 1 May 2004.
2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 EU countries excluding UK 90,135 90,580 89,545 100,005 106,225 of which... EU countries prior to 1 May 2004 90,135 90,580 89,545 88,815 89,465 EU accession countries (6,585) (6,745) (7,300) 11,190 16,760
2004 accession countries: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia.
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, 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.
First year students are based on the HESA standard registration population who commenced their programme of study in the reporting period relevant to the data collection year.
Age is as at 31 August within the relevant academic year.
In the text, the figures presented are rounded to the nearest 100. The figures presented in the tables are shown in thousands, or percentages calculated on the base data.
Press enquiries should be directed to the Press office at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ: Tel: 01242 211120. General enquiries about the data contained within this SFR should be addressed to Denise Jones, Information Provision Manager, HESA (at the same address): Tel: 01242 211133.
9 January 2007, 9:30
Education and training
HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ