Skip to main content

Higher Education Student Statistics: UK 2021/22 released

The first release of HESA student data for the 2021/22 academic year shows a 24% rise in the number of students from non-EU countries and a 21% fall in numbers from EU countries.

Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2021/22

The data shows a total of 2,862,620 students enrolled in 2021/22, an increase of 4% from 2020/21.

1,288,160 students were in the first year of their course. 526,645 (41%) of these students were starting a postgraduate course, an increase of 9% on the previous year. The number of students starting an undergraduate course fell by 2%.

The number of non-EU domicile first year entrants was 350,325, a rise of 32% compared to the previous year. This included a 50% rise in the number of entrants from India which stood at 126,535. The number of UK domicile first year students fell by 2% while the number of EU domicile entrants fell by 53%.

919,940 HE qualifications were awarded in 2021/22 including 390,585 at the postgraduate level, 439,115 first degrees and 90,245 other undergraduate qualifications.

32% of first degrees were awarded a first class honours classification, a fall of 4 percentage points from 36% in 2020/21. This is the first year in which HESA statistics have recorded a fall in the proportion of first class degrees. 46% were awarded upper second class honours, the same proportion as in the previous year.  

Alongside today’s National Statistics release, HESA has published a research insight into the impact of Covid on student statistics for 2021/22. The research considers the effects of the pandemic on entry rates, mobility, and qualifications.

A further open data publication Higher Education Student Data will be released on 31 January 2023. This will include more detailed breakdowns from the 2021/22 HESA Student, Student Alternative and Aggregate Offshore records.

If you have comments or suggestions about today’s release, please give feedback via the form in the bulletin.


  • Data relates to students enrolled between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022.
  • See Upcoming data releases for a schedule of Official Statistics releases from HESA.
  • HESA is now part of Jisc. Jisc is now the data controller of personal data previously controlled by HESA. Privacy information on the HESA website has been updated. 
  • HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
Press Release

Press Officer