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HESA Students in Higher Education Institutions 2005/06 reveals HE participation widens as disabled access improves

Data from the newly released HESA Students in Higher Education Institutions 2005/06 publication shows that the proportion of university students declaring a disability at all levels of study continues to rise.

In total, 137,945 students declared themselves as having a disability in 2005/06, an increase from 128,185 students in 2004/05 and 115,595 in 2003/04. By this definition, the total number of disabled students has risen by just over two thirds, or 67.7pc, from 82,280 since 2000/01. In contrast the total number of UK domiciled students over this period saw a 14.0pc rise from 1,759,755 students to 2,006,035.

Numbers of disabled students increased as a proportion of total students, accounting for 6.9pc of students in 2005/06, up from 6.5pc in 2004/05. Splitting the data by level of study shows that 7.9pc of first degree students were registered with a disability at their institution in 2005/06, an increase from 7.5pc on the previous year. The proportion of undergraduate and postgraduate students registered as disabled also rose to 7.3pc and 5.1pc from 6.9pc and 4.8pc respectively. Figures apply to students domiciled in the UK and excluding non-UK domiciled students.

Total number of students with a disability by level of study 2005/06

Level of study Total disabled students 2005/06 Total UK domiciled students 2005/06 Percentage of UK domiciled disabled students 2005/06 Percentage of UK domiciled disabled students 2004/05
Postgraduate 18935 373785 5.1 4.8
Undergraduate (including First Degree) 119010 1632245 7.3 6.9
First Degree only 90940 1148655 7.9 7.5
All students 137945 2006035 6.9 6.5
Source: HESA Students in Higher Education Institutions 2004/05, 2005/06

New data on ethnicity reveals that the number of UK domiciled black students studying full-time for taught higher degrees (including doctorates and masters degrees) leapt by around a quarter with a 26.5pc increase in black males and a 24.5pc increase in black females. In 2005/06, there were 1290 black males and 1140 black females studying for these qualifications full-time, as opposed to 1020 black males and 915 black females in 2004/05.

At undergraduate level there was an 11.6pc increase in the number of black students registered for a full-time first degree. In a gender split of these students, the enrolments of black males and black females showed a percentage increase of 11.1pc and 11.9pc respectively. However, the underlying numbers present an uneven gender distribution, with black males making up 17,820 students, and black females 23,775 students; meaning 57.2pc of this group are female.

Similarly, females constitute 55.7pc of full-time first degree students in both the white ethnic group and the ‘Other’ (including mixed race) ethnic group. Conversely, among students of Asian ethnicity the gender split is almost 50/50, with females comprising 49.7pc of the 98,240 full-time first degree Asian students in the UK.

A two year time series of student ethnicity is given in the table below, broken down by level of study

Total number of students with a disability by level of study 2005/06

  Undergraduate Postgraduate All Levels of study
  2004/05 2005/06 2004/05 2005/06 2004/05 2005/06
Total of known ethnicity 1500230 1536375 322675 333885 1822905 1870260
  (100) (100) (100) (100) (100) (100)
White 1261295 1283060 279450 286360 1540745 1569425
  (84.1) (83.5) (86.6) (85.8) (84.5) (83.9)
Black 73205 79135 12595 13765 85800 92900
  (4.9) (5.2) (3.9) (4.1) (4.7) (5.0)
Asian 127065 130590 22810 25160 149875 155750
  (8.5) (8.5) (7.1) (7.5) (8.2) (8.3)
Other (including mixed) 38665 43590 7820 8595 46485 52185
  (2.6) (2.8) (2.4) (2.6) (2.5) (2.8)
Ethnicity not known 102075 95870 44160 39900 146235 135770
Total 1602305 1632245 366835 373785 1969140 2006035
Source: HESA Students in Higher Education Institutions 2004/05, 2005/06

The HESA Students in Higher Education Institutions 2005/06 includes comprehensive student data on gender, ethnicity, disability, level and mode of study, institution, qualifications obtained, highest qualification on entry, and more. The Students in Higher Education Institutions 2005/06 is available for purchase for £50 + VAT at £5.95 from the HESA sales desk by calling (01242) 211155. Back issues of this publication are also available for purchase.

Further information is available online at www.hesa.ac.uk/products/pubs/home.htm or from the HESA Press Office on 01242 211120.

Notes to editors

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  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
  2. Due to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, HESA implements a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. These tabulations are derived from the HESA non-statutory populations and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:
    • 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
    • All other numbers are rounded to the nearest 5

    So for example 3 is represented as 5, 22 is represented as 20, 3286 is represented as 3285 while 0, 20, 55, 3510 remain unchanged.

  3. Definitions of ethnicity and disability are given below. HESA recommend that these definitions are kept under consideration when reading the data.
  4. This press release is based on data for UK domiciled students, non-UK domiciled students are excluded from all figures, percentages and totals. A definition of UK domicile can be found in the definitions that follow:
  5. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.

    Student Definitions

    Coverage

    Higher education (HE) students are those students on programmes of study for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework, i.e. courses leading to the Advanced Level of the General Certificate of Education (GCE A-levels), the Advanced Level of the Vocational Certificate of Education (VCE A-levels) or the Advanced Higher Grade and Higher Grade of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Advanced Highers/Highers.

    The HESA Student Record contains information about individual enrolments, which, because a student can be enrolled on more than one programme of study, will exceed the number of students. Postdoctoral students are not included in the HESA Student Record.

    The HESA standard registration population has been derived from the HESA Student Record and ensures that similar activity is counted in a similar way irrespective of when it occurs. The population splits the student experience into ‘years of programme of study’; the first year of which is deemed to start on the commencement date of the programme with second, and subsequent years, starting on, or near, the anniversary of that date. Registrations are counted once for each ‘year of programme of study’. Short course registrations are counted in the standard registration population regardless of whether they are active on the 1 December of the reporting period. However students who leave within 2 weeks of their start date, or anniversary of their start date, and are on a course of more than two weeks duration, are not included in the standard registration population. Dormant students, incoming visiting and exchange students from overseas and students studying for the whole of their programme of study outside of the UK are also excluded from this population.

    Rounding strategy

    Due to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, HESA implements a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. These tabulations are derived from the HESA non-statutory populations and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:

    • 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
    • All other numbers are rounded to the nearest 5.

    So for example 3 is represented as 5, 22 is represented as 20, 3286 is represented as 3285 while 0, 20, 55, 3510 remain unchanged.

    This rounding strategy is also applied to total figures; the consequence of which is that the sum of numbers in each row or column will rarely match the total shown precisely. Note that subject level data calculated by apportionment will also be rounded in accordance with this strategy.

    Average values, proportions and FTE values prepared by HESA will not be affected by the above strategy, and will be calculated on precise raw numbers. However, percentages calculated on populations which contain 52 or fewer individuals will be suppressed and represented as '..' as will averages based on populations of 7 or less.

    Mode of study

    Full-time students are those normally required to attend an institution for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year of programme of study, on thick or thin sandwich courses, and those on a study-related year out of their institution. During that time students are normally expected to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week.

    Part-time students are those recorded as studying part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings only. Other modes of study include those students writing-up theses or on sabbatical, except where these have been tabulated separately. Writing-up students are those who are normally expected to submit a thesis to the institution for examination, have completed the work of their course and are not making significant demands on institutional resources.

    Level of study

    The level of study is taken from the qualification aim of the student.

    Postgraduate programmes of study are those leading to higher degrees, diplomas and certificates (including Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and professional qualifications) and usually require that entrants are already qualified to degree level (i.e. already qualified at level 4 of the National Qualifications Framework). Higher degrees include doctorates, masters degrees and higher bachelors degrees.

    Other postgraduate includes postgraduate diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), institutional postgraduate credits and no formal postgraduate qualifications.

    Undergraduate programmes of study are first degrees with or without eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care or Veterinary statutory regulatory body, first degrees with qualified teacher status (QTS)/registration with the General Teaching Council (GTC), enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees, Foundation Degrees, diplomas in HE with eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care regulatory body, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at HE level, NVQ/SVQ levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level, professional qualifications at undergraduate level and other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including post registration health and social care courses. Entrants to these programmes of study do not usually require an HE qualification.

    First degree includes first degrees with or without eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care or Veterinary statutory regulatory body, first degrees with qualified teacher status (QTS)/registration with the General Teaching Council (GTC), enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees.

    Other undergraduate includes qualification aims below degree level such as Foundation Degrees, diplomas in HE with eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care regulatory body, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at HE level, NVQ/SVQ levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level, professional qualifications at undergraduate level, other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including post registration health and social care courses, other formal HE qualifications of less than degree standard, institutional undergraduate credit and no formal undergraduate qualifications.

    * Note: Many students who study for a doctorate qualification will initially be enrolled on a masters course and will transfer to a doctorate course after a year or two. For this reason, the number of doctorate students may be under counted and the number of masters students may be over counted.

    Domicile

    Domicile data is supplied to HESA in the form of postcodes (UK domiciled students) or country codes. Postcodes are mapped to counties, unitary authorities and UK nations using the National Statistics All Fields Postcode Directory. Countries are mapped to geographical regions following consultation with the Department for Education and Skills. From 2000/01 to 2003/04 postcodes were mapped to counties, unitary authorities and UK nations following consultation with Geoplan Postcode Marketing. Where no data is supplied about the student's domicile, fee eligibility is used to determine whether domicile is European Union, including the UK, or not.

    UK domiciled students are those whose normal residence is in the UK, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

    Ethnicity

    It is HESA’s intention to adopt national classifications where they exist and are appropriate. However, in this instance, there is no coding structure for ethnicity that is applicable throughout the UK, as variations to the Census 2001 ethnicity coding were adopted in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. To accommodate requirements for institutions in these regions to report locally to their devolved administrations, the coding frame has been revised. Home domiciled students are required to report their ethnic origin and for the purpose of this field, this means those domiciled in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. However, HESA advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total student population.

    The following entries have been grouped together and this may mean that the ethnicity groupings used in previous years may not now be comparable:

    The ethnic category ‘White’ includes the entries:

    White (only available for continuing students who commenced their programme of study before 1 August 2001 or for students admitted via UCAS who commenced their programme of study after 1 August 2005)

    • White – British
    • White – Irish
    • White – Scottish
    • Irish Traveller
    • Other White background

    The ethnic category ‘Black’ includes the entries:

    • Black or Black British – Caribbean
    • Black or Black British – African
    • Other Black background

    The ethnic category Asian includes the entries:

    • Asian or Asian British – Indian
    • Asian or Asian British - Pakistani
    • Asian or Asian British – Bangladeshi
    • Chinese
    • Other Asian background

    The ethnic category ‘Other (including mixed)’ includes the entries:

    • Mixed - White and Black Caribbean
    • Mixed - White and Black African
    • Mixed - White and Asian
    • Other Mixed background
    • Other Ethnic background

    Disability

    The disability categories indicate the type of disability that a student has on the basis of their own self-assessment. For continuing students, where the information is not already known, institutions have the option of recording the student’s disability as not sought. As a result, some institutions have not returned disability data for some of their students. In addition, students are not obliged to report a disability. HESA therefore advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total student population.

    The University of Cambridge – 2005/06

    The University of Cambridge has taken the opportunity of a new student record system to review the recording of student data. The Head of Planning and Resource Allocation at the University of Cambridge should be consulted about significant variances when comparing data for 2004/05 and 2005/06 or using 2005/06 data where there are particular sensitivities. These sensitivities include postgraduate research and postgraduate taught totals; 'other postgraduate' and 'other undergraduate' totals; clinical medical FTEs; data relating to new entrants; and sources of financial support for postgraduates.

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