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Overview of the academic year 2014/15

The HESA publication Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2014/15 is released today.

This National Statistics publication gives a statistical overview of UK higher education in the 2014/15 academic year including data from HESA and other statistics producers. Commentary, summary tables and charts are provided in the free online introduction.

Details from the introduction tables include:


  • 2,266,075 HE students at HE providers, plus 189,635 HE students at FE colleges and 50,245 on designated courses at Alternative Providers [Table A]
  • 56% of HE students are female [Table B]
  • 45% of students studied science subjects. The most popular subject area was business & administrative studies which was studied by 14% of students [Table C].


  • 745,005 HE qualifications were awarded, of which 53% were first degrees and 35% postgraduate [Table D]


  • 90% of UK and other EU domicile leavers were in some form of employment or further study six months after leaving. 5% were unemployed [Table E]
  • Medicine and dentistry leavers had the lowest rate of unemployment after leaving at 0.2%. Computer science leavers had the highest rate at 10% [Table F]


  • 403,835 staff were employed in HE providers on 1 December 2014. 198,335 (49%) were academic staff [Table G]
  • 45% of academic staff were female. 35% were employed on fixed-term contracts [Table H]


  • UK HE providers had a total income of £33 billion of which 47% came from tuition fees [Table I]

Student Loans

  • The Student Loans Company lent £7.6 billion in tuition fee loans to full-time undergraduate students [Table J]

HE Statistics for the UK Publication

HESA has committed to making our statistics more useful and accessible. We are therefore proposing to change the way 'Higher Education Statistics for the UK' is published from 2017. In summary we propose to release all the same content free of charge in tranches throughout the year as each stream of data becomes available. For more details, and to give feedback on this proposal, please see the proposed changes page.

Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2014/15 is a National Statistics publication including data from HESA and other statistics producers covering all aspects of Higher Education in the UK.

The 43 tables in the publication include

  • Student, Staff, Finance and Destinations data from HESA
  • Data from the Student Loans Company on student support provision
  • Information on participation and graduate rates for 30 countries from the OECD
  • Data from the Labour Force Survey on qualification rates over time.

Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2014/15 is available to purchase now as an electronic download.

The free online introduction includes commentary, summary tables and charts and provides an overview of the key trends in higher education over the last five years.

Notes for Editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
  2. In the above data 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5. Percentages are calculated on un-rounded numbers.
  3. HESA appreciates the collaboration of all the bodies that have made data available for this publication, and in particular that of our colleagues in the Department for Education, Welsh Government, Scottish Government and the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland) with whom we have worked closely in preparing it, in accordance with the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
  4. The contents of the publication Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2014/15 are based on previously available or published information from the HE sector.
  5. Definitions of the terms used in this press release can be found here.
  6. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.

About HESA

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the recognised source of data on higher education in the UK. Our experts collect, analyse, and disseminate accurate and comprehensive statistical information on all aspects of UK higher education in order to support the strategic aims of our users and enhance the effectiveness of the sector as a whole. We are a charity and a company limited by guarantee. We operate as an independent organisation, working in close partnership with higher education providers, regulators, funders, government departments, policy makers, and other stakeholders.


Press Release

Press Officer