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Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18 - Student numbers and characteristics

Statistical Bulletin Experimental SB254

How many students are at APs?

The total number of HE students on designated courses at APs in the 2017/18 record stood at 71,050. There were a further 1,750 students on non-designated courses. Please note that the coverage of the record has increased every year. In 2017/18 all providers were required for the first time to return postgraduates on both taught and research courses (see notes for further details). As a result, care should be taken when making comparisons over time. Some increases in numbers are a result of increases in coverage of the data collected, rather than a true reflection of the total number of students at APs.

Figure 3 shows:

  • The number of undergraduate students on designated courses at APs rose to 55,995 in 2017/18, an increase of 8% from 2016/17.
  • HNC/HND courses were the only type of undergraduate level of study to see a decrease in student numbers over the three year period. However, uptake of these courses at APs remains almost as high as uptake of the same course types at publicly funded HE providers. In 2017/18 there were 14,000 HNC/HND students (on both designated and non-designated courses) at APs compared with 14,270 at publicly funded HE providers.
  • Other undergraduate first year student numbers on designated courses increased by 52% in 2017/18, to 4,545. This was largely due to an increased uptake on Graduate diploma/certificate at level H and Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET) courses.
  • Part-time undergraduate student numbers on designated courses rose between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Figure 3 - Alternative provider student enrolments by level of study

Academic years 2015/16 to 2017/18

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What is ‘First year marker’?

This option restricts the table to only show students who were on the first year of their course. This is useful for restricting data to the newest cohort of entrants. See the year of study definitions for more detail.

What are the characteristics of students at APs?

Sex of students

  • 54% of all HE students on designated courses at APs were female in 2017/18 (see Figure 4).
  • A larger proportion of part-time students were female than full-time students.
  • Of postgraduate taught students, 61% were female, compared with 50% of first degree students.

Age of students

  • Among undergraduate students on designated courses, 41% were aged 30 and over in 2017/18. In comparison, just 26% of postgraduate students were aged 30 and over.
  • Data on publicly funded HE providers shows 13% of undergraduates were aged 30 and over in 2017/18, and 40% of postgraduates.
  • There was a year on year decline in the percentage of part-time undergraduate students aged 30 and over between 2015/16 and 2017/18, as numbers in younger age groups rose.

Ethnicity of students

  • Of full-time UK domiciled students on designated courses at APs, 49% were White in 2017/18. In comparison, 72% of part-time UK domiciled students on designated courses were White.
  • Data on publicly funded HE providers shows 74% of full-time and 83% of part-time UK domiciled students were White in 2017/18.
  • More than a quarter of UK domiciled undergraduate students at APs were Black in 2017/18, and one in every seven were Asian.
  • A notably higher percentage of full-time other undergraduate students were Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) than full-time postgraduate students.

Figure 4 - Alternative provider student enrolments on designated courses by personal characteristics

Academic years 2015/16 to 2017/18

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Widening participation data is shown for the first time in this bulletin in Figure 5. Low participation neighbourhood information comes from the participation of local areas (POLAR) classification, which is maintained by the Office for Students. Among UK domiciled full-time undergraduate students, this data shows:

  • A higher proportion of first degree students were from a low participation neighbourhood in 2017/18 than students at all other undergraduate levels of study.
  • Proportionately fewer students at APs were from a low participation neighbourhood in 2017/18 than students at publicly funded HE providers.

Figure 5 - UK domiciled full-time undergraduate alternative provider student enrolments on designated courses by participation characteristics

Academic years 2015/16 to 2017/18

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Embargo

14 February 2019, 9:30

Coverage

UK

Release frequency

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

Themes

Children, education and skills

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+44 (0) 1242 211 494, [email protected]

Statistician

Rebecca Mantle

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