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Students in higher education institutions

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  • Release date: 2 March 2017
  • Period covered: 2015/16
  • Next update: 11 January 2018
An annual report, produced by Higher Education Statistics Agency, which provides details of student enrolments and qualifications.

Key points

Higher education enrolments by Welsh domiciles

  • In 2015/16, there were 97,585 Welsh domiciled students enrolled in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This is down 2 per cent compared with the previous year.
  • The drop was caused by a 10 per cent (2,490) drop in part-time undergraduates and a 4 per cent (630) drop in postgraduates.
  • In contrast to the overall trend, full-time undergraduates increased 3 per cent (1,500).
  • For every 10 males enrolled at a university, there were 14 females.
  • The most popular courses were subjects allied to medicine, which most notably includes nursing.

Higher education enrolments at Welsh HEIs

  • In 2015/16, there were 128,685 students enrolled at Welsh HEIs. This is down 3 per cent, the same fall as the year before.
  • The trends were similar to Welsh domiciles. The drop came from an 11 per cent (3,085) drop in part-time undergraduates and a 10 per cent (2,905) drop in postgraduates.
  • Full-time undergraduates increased 2 per cent (1,700).
  • Almost half of postgraduates were on a part-time basis, compared to a quarter of undergraduates.
  • Welsh domiciles made up just over half of students at Welsh HEIs.
  • Business and administrative studies courses had the most students overall.

Cross border flows of full-time students

  • In 2015/16, there were 33,565 non-Welsh UK domiciled students at Welsh HEIs. There were 25,110 Welsh domiciled students studying in the UK outside of Wales.
  • Wales is a net importer of full-time students in the UK; accepting 8,455 more students from other UK countries than it sends to them.
  • Two fifths of Welsh domiciled undergraduates studied in England, as did one third of Welsh domiciled postgraduates.

Higher education qualifications

  • In 2015/16, the number of qualifications awarded to Welsh domiciled students (27,165) has remained almost constant.
  • Around three quarters of qualifications awarded to Welsh domiciles were undergraduate.
  • 40,560 qualifications were awarded by Welsh HEIs, 2 per cent fewer than the previous year.


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