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UK Performance Indicators: Widening Participation, 2018/19

New statistics show the proportion of students from low participation neighbourhoods and state schools at each HE provider. National level figures show little change from previous years, but wide variation remains between individual providers.

View the UK Performance Indicator tables for Widening Participation   View the national level summary

In 2018/19 11.4% of young entrants to full-time first degree courses were from neighbourhoods with historically low participation in higher education. This is the same proportion as in 2017/18 having risen only 0.3 percentage points since 2015/16.

The proportion of mature entrants (aged 21 or over) from low participation neighbourhoods starting part-time undergraduate saw an increase from 8.4% in 2017/18 to 9.3% in 2018/19.

The new figures are based on an updated methodology introduced by HESA in 2017 and includes alternative providers of higher education.

The UK Performance Indicators also show the proportion of young entrants to full-time first degree courses from state schools. This stood at 90.0% in 2018/19 – the same proportion as in 2015/16 and 2016/17, and only 0.1 percentage points higher than in 2017/18.

A regional breakdown of the state school indicator shows that this proportion was lowest at HE providers in the South East and London, and highest in Wales and Northern Ireland*.

State school entry rates for full-time first degree courses were over 90% at the majority of providers, but were below 75% at 22 providers. Providers with low indicators are more likely to be specialist music and art colleges, or research-intensive universities with high entry requirements. The statistics for each provider are accompanied with a benchmark based on their individual characteristics.

A further release of UK Performance Indicators showing non-continuation rates will be published on 27 February.

To give feedback on today’s release please complete the Open data feedback form.


  • * In Northern Ireland, all schools are categorised as state schools in the lookup file used to produce the widening participation indicators. Although there are fee paying schools, the schools also receive some state funding.
  • UK Performance Indicators (UKPIs) are statistics which compare universities and colleges against benchmarks for widening participation and non-continuation. No two HE providers in the UK are alike, but the UKPIs are designed to be objective and consistent measures of every HE provider’s performance. The UKPIs are not intended to be league tables and HE providers are intended to be compared against benchmarks. See About the UK Performance Indicators
  • This year’s performance indicators are based on a methodology introduced for 2015/16 entrants that were previously published as experimental statistics. All four years of available data are included in the tables published today.
  • The main tables show the indicator for each higher education provider alongside its benchmark.
  • The summary page provides national and regional level statistics and charts showing the relative performance of individual HE providers.
  • See Upcoming data releases for a schedule of Official Statistics releases from HESA, including Statistical Bulletins, Performance Indicators and full open data releases.
  • HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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