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Higher Education Student Statistics: Alternative Providers, 2017/18 - HE totality

Statistical Bulletin Experimental SB254

How do students at APs fit into the totality of HE provision?

This section focuses on HE student numbers from data collected by HESA in both the Student and AP student records. In relation to the AP student record, those on designated courses only are reported below. The AP student record consists of APs in England, plus one AP in Scotland (see notes for further restrictions on the coverage of the AP student record).

Figure 13 includes additional information on HE student numbers at FE providers. This additional data has been supplied by UK funding councils and devolved administrations.

Figure 13 - HE student enrolments at HE, FE and designated courses at alternative providers by level of study and HE provider type

Academic years 2013/14 to 2017/18


In 2017/18, there were 265 providers of the following types:

  • 165 HE providers that reported data to the HESA student record;
  • 3 FE colleges in Wales that reported data to the HESA student record; and
  • 97 APs that reported data on designated courses to the HESA AP student record.

Figures 14 to 16 display information on HE students at all of these types of providers. Information on HE students at FE colleges outside of Wales are not collected by HESA and are excluded from the data below.

Figure 14 - HE student enrolments (including on AP designated courses) by provider and domicile

Academic year 2017/18


In 2017/18:

  • Business & administrative studies was the most popular subject in HE, attracting 369,315 students.
  • Veterinary science was the subject with fewest students, at 7,860.
  • Among females, subjects allied to medicine was the top subject. This was also the subject with the highest number of part time students.
What is the ‘subjects allied to medicine’ subject area?

Subjects allied to medicine are those related to human health such as nursing, pharmacy and anatomy. Over half of students in the subjects allied to medicine subject area study for nursing qualifications. See this list of principal subjects included in each subject area for more detail.

Figure 15 - HE student enrolments (including on AP designated courses) by subject area and sex

Academic years 2016/17 to 2017/18


Figure 16 shows:

  • UK students made up the largest proportion of enrolments in 2017/18, at 81%.
  • Proportions of students from outside the UK varied by both level and mode of study.  Full-time postgraduate (taught) had the highest percentage from non-EU countries, at 45%.

Figure 16 - HE student enrolments (including on AP designated courses) by domicile and level of study

Academic years 2016/17 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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Department for Education

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Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)