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Students studying wholly overseas

HESA publication 'Students in Higher Education Institutions 2012/13' released today

Students in Higher Education Institutions 2012/13 shows that there were 2,340,275 students studying at higher education institutions in the UK in 2012/13. Of these 425,265 were students from outside the UK coming here to study.

A separate population of 598,925 students were studying wholly overseas for a UK qualification in 2012/13. This represents an increase of 4.9% over the equivalent figure for 2011/12 (571,010). Almost half of these transnational students were based in Asia, with Malaysia and Singapore accounting for almost 20% of the total.

The map below shows the numbers of transnational students studying for UK qualifications by geographic region.

Students studying wholly overseas by geographic region of activity 2012/13

More details about the top 20 countries for offshore provision can be found in Table P of the publication introduction.

Type of activity and level of provision

The majority (59%) of students studying wholly overseas were registered with overseas partner organisations while studying for qualifications from a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI). 21% were registered with a UK HEI and studying by distance learning from overseas. 3% were studying at an overseas campus of a UK HEI. 83% of transnational student were studying at undergraduate level.

Students studying wholly overseas by type of activity and level of provision 2012/13
Type of activity Postgraduate Undergraduate Further Education Total
Students registered at a UK HEI 84860 159705 390 244950
   Overseas campus of reporting HEI 4855 12280 385 17520
   Distance, flexible or distributed learning 61100 62535 0 123635
   Other arrangement including collaborative provision 18905 84890 0 103795
Students studying for an award of a UK HEI 18275 335645 55 353975
   Overseas partner organisation 17675 335645 55 353375
   Other arrangement 595 0 0 595
Total 103135 495350 440 598925
Source: HESA Aggregate Offshore Record 2012/13

More details about type of activity and level of provision can be found in Table O of the publication introduction.


Students in Higher Education Institutions 2012/13 is a downloadable publication which includes comprehensive data on students and qualifiers broken down by demographic and course characteristics, as well as data from the HESA Aggregate Offshore Record. Students in Higher Education Institutions 2012/13 is available to purchase now from our website.

Further tables and graphs from Students in Higher Education Institutions 2012/13 are published as free online data tables and in the publication's introduction.

A schedule of HESA releases for 2013 can be found here.

Notes for editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
    • Simon Kemp
    • HESA Press Officer
    • 01242 211120
    • [email protected] 
    • 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ.
  2. In the above data and annex tables 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5.
  3. The HESA Aggregate Offshore Record is a separate data collection from the HESA Student Record (which covers students studying in the UK).
  4. Out of 162 UK Higher Education Institutions subscribing to HESA, 126 had offshore provision of some form in 2012/13.
  5. In 2012/13, students registered at Oxford Brookes University accounted for 43.7% of the total population of the Aggregate offshore record. The majority of these students were registered with an overseas partner on Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) programmes.
  6. More data on students studying wholly overseas can be found in Statistical First Release 197 and the publication introduction.
  7. Definitions of the terms used in this press release can be found on-line here.
  8. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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