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Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18

Statistical Bulletin Experimental SB254


Figure 1 - First year alternative provider undergraduate student enrolments on designated courses by level of study

Academic years 2015/16 to 2017/18

  • First degree courses remain the most popular type of higher education at alternative providers, with enrolments increasing year on year.
  • 2017/18 saw a notable increase in the number of first year enrolments on to other undergraduate courses.

Figure 2 - Alternative provider undergraduate qualifications obtained on designated courses by level of qualification

Academic years 2015/16 to 2017/18

  • The number of first degree qualifications obtained has increased each year, in line with the increase in first year student numbers.
  • The number of HNC/HND qualifications obtained decreased in 2017/18 following a decrease in first year enrolments in 2016/17.
  • More other undergraduate qualifications were awarded in 2017/18 than HNC/HND qualifications.

About this release

This Statistical Bulletin is the annual first release of HESA student data from alternative providers. In previous years, our statistical bulletins were known as statistical first releases. We have changed the name to align with terminology used by other official statistics producers.

Alternative providers (APs) are higher education providers who do not receive recurrent funding from the Funding Councils or other public bodies and who are not further education (FE) colleges. Eligible students can access loans and grants from the Student Loans Company (SLC) on specific courses, referred to as designated courses.

This release focuses on all those alternative providers who supplied data to the HESA alternative provider student record. In the main, this includes APs in England that have successfully completed the designation process (with the exception of The University of Buckingham which supplied data to the HESA student record) for the academic year 2017/18. It also includes, from 2016/17, student numbers from one AP in Scotland.

This bulletin also includes a section on HE totality. This contains summary information on HE students at FE colleges in the UK, alongside information on students from APs and publicly funded UK HE providers.


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Release date

14 February 2019, 9:30



Release frequency

Annual - view all releases (2014/15 - onwards)


Children, education and skills

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Rebecca Mantle

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Department for Education

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Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)