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UK Performance Indicators: Widening Participation 2020/21

New statistics from HESA show that 90.2% of young UK full-time first degree entrants were from state schools or colleges.

Widening participation: UK Performance Indicators - Summary

The data released today relates to students who entered higher education between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021 the first full academic year to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proportion of young UK entrants to full-time first degree courses from state schools was calculated for 176 UK HE providers. For the majority of these providers (122) this proportion was above the national figure of 90.2%. 13 HE providers saw less than 70% of entrants coming from state schools and for three this figure was less than 60%.

The national figure of 90.2% was slightly higher than last year’s figure of 90.1% for young full-time entrants to first degree courses.

For providers in England and Wales the proportion of young UK entrants to full-time first degree courses from low participation neighbourhoods was 12.0%. This statistic was calculated for 157 providers with indicators ranging from 0% to over 30%.

11.9% of young full-time entrants to first degree courses at English providers were from low participation neighbourhoods, up from 11.7% in 2019/20. The figure for Wales was 13.2%, down from 13.8% in the previous year. Greater increases were seen for young entrants to part-time undergraduate courses (including diplomas and certificates). For England this figure rose from 14.8% to 15.7% and for Wales it rose from 18.6% to 20.9%.

The summary page of today’s UK Performance Indicators release shows the national and regional figures for widening participation. The main tables provide detailed statistics for every UK higher education provider including a benchmark for each provider.

A further release of UK Performance Indicators showing non-continuation rates will be published in March.

If you have comments or suggestions about today’s release please give feedback via the form on each page of the release.


  • UK Performance Indicators (UKPIs) are statistics which compare universities and colleges against benchmarks for widening participation and non-continuation. No two HE providers in the UK are alike, but the UKPIs are designed to be objective and consistent measures of every HE provider’s performance. The UKPIs are not intended to be league tables and HE providers are intended to be compared against benchmarks. See About the UK Performance Indicators 
  • Benchmarks in the UK Performance Indicators are sector averages adjusted for the characteristics of providers and their entrants. The benchmarks are not official targets.
  • The 2020/21 UKPIs will be the last widening participation and non-continuation statistics to be labelled as performance indicators.
  • See Upcoming data releases for a schedule of Official Statistics releases from HESA, including Statistical Bulletins, Performance Indicators and full open data releases.
  • HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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