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Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18 - Where students come from, go to study and subjects studied

Statistical Bulletin Experimental SB254

Where are students at APs studying?

In 2017/18, 99 providers reported data to the HESA AP student record. More information on what this means in terms of coverage of the higher education sector is given in the about this release section. Figure 6 shows the number of students studying at each AP in 2017/18, with a breakdown by the geographic location of students' permanent home address prior to study (known as domicile).

Figure 6 - Alternative provider student enrolments by alternative provider and domicile

Academic year 2017/18


Where do AP students come from?


  • UK students made up the largest proportion of enrolments on designated courses in 2017/18.
  • A higher proportion of part-time students were from the UK than full-time students.
  • Among first year students, 4% were from other European Union (EU) countries and 9% were from non-EU countries.
  • In 2017/18, there were 580 students from Italy and 575 students from China on designated courses at APs. These were the top two countries of domicile outside of the UK.

Figure 7 - AP student enrolments on designated courses by level of study and domicile

Academic year 2017/18


What are students at APs studying?

In 2017/18:

  • Business & administrative studies was the most popular subject. This was also true among students at publicly funded HE providers.
  • Among postgraduate students on designated courses, 65% studied law.
  • 11% of students on designated courses at APs were studying science subjects, representing 8,035 students.
  • The proportion of males and females differed by subject area. In 2017/18, 53% of business & administrative studies, 43% of creative arts & design and 64% of law students were female.
What if a student studies more than one subject?

Figures in subject tables are Full Person Equivalent (FPE). If a student on a course (an 'instance') studied more than one subject then that instance is split between those subjects. For example, a student studying ⅔ business studies and ⅓ french will be counted as 0.67 FPE in business & administrative studies and 0.33 FPE in languages. See the subject of study definitions for more detail.

Figure 8 - AP student enrolments on designated courses by subject area and sex

Academic year 2017/18


Subject choice and age of students

  • In 2017/18, creative arts & design was the top subject choice amongst students aged 20 and under.
  • Among students aged 30 and over, business & administrative studies was the most popular.

Subject choice and ethnicity of students

  • Of UK domiciled students in 2017/18, 85% of those studying creative arts & design were White.
  • Among those choosing to study business & administrative studies, 66% were Black and Minority Ethnic (BME).
  • One in every five law students was Asian.

Figure 9 - Alternative provider student enrolments on designated courses by subject area and personal characteristics

Academic years 2015/16 to 2017/18



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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