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Higher Education Student Data 2021/22

More first year students in 2021/22 were from Nigeria than from the European Union. Detailed data from HESA show the changing makeup of the UK student population.

Higher Education Student Data

Figures released today show that a growing proportion of students are studying at postgraduate level, and a growing proportion of postgraduates are international students.

29% of students at UK higher education providers were enrolled on postgraduate courses, up from 24% in 2017/18. In 2021/22 the number of new enrolments on postgraduate courses rose 9% from the previous year to 526,645.

Of the total 820,310 postgraduate students enrolled in 2021/22, 45% (372,500) were non-UK domiciled. This proportion has grown from 35% in 2017/18. Among undergraduate students only 15% were non-UK domiciled in 2021/22 compared to 14% in 2017/18.

At postgraduate level the number of students from India (101,765) outnumbered those from China (88,755). 33,715 postgraduate students in 2021/22 were from EU countries, down from 43,765 in 2020/21.

Over one third (37%) of non-UK domicile postgraduate students were studying Business and management subjects. A further 19% were studying Engineering, technology or computing.

Today’s release also shows that the number of students studying wholly overseas for awards or courses of UK universities exceeded half a million in 2021/22. There were a total of 532,460 transnational students, of whom 34% were studying at postgraduate level.

China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka had the highest numbers of transnational students, accounting for 31% of the total between them.

Today’s open data Official Statistics release Higher Education Student Data includes detailed breakdowns of student data in five topics:  

Most data tables include eight years of data, with older data available through HESA’s publication archive.


  • 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