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Details of student enrolments and qualifications for September 2016 to August 2017.

Higher education enrolments by students from Wales

  • In 2016/17, the number of students from Wales enrolled in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) continued its seven year decline, falling to 97,095.
  • The fall came from a decrease in the number of part-time students, who dropped by 2,050 (6%) in 2016/17.
  • For every 10 males enrolled at a university, there were 14 females.
  • The most popular subject group was Subjects Allied to Medicine, with nursing enrolments comprising most of these.

Higher education enrolments in Wales

  • Enrollments at Welsh universities declined slightly for a fifth year, to 128,005 in 2016/17.
  • The drop was due in part to a fall in the number of students from Wales studying part-time which decreased by 2,085 (7%).
  • Full-time undergraduates increased again to the highest number on record, at 79,780.
  • Almost half of postgraduates studied part-time, compared to nearly a quarter of undergraduates.
  • Over half of students at Welsh universities came from Wales before they began study.
  • The most popular subject group at Welsh universities in 2016/17 was Biological Sciences, closely followed by Business & Administrative Studies.

Cross border flows of full-time students

  • Wales is a net importer of full-time students from the UK. In 2016/17 Wales accepted 9,350 more students from other UK countries than it sent to them.
  • There were 35,390 students from other UK countries at Welsh universities, compared to 26,040 students from Wales studying at HEIs in the rest of the UK.
  • Two fifths of undergraduates from Wales studied in England, as did just over one third of postgraduates from Wales.

Higher education qualifications

  • The number of qualifications awarded to students from Wales increased to 28,025 in 2016/17.
  • Just over three quarters of qualifications awarded to students from Wales were undergraduate.
  • The number of qualifications awarded by universities in Wales remained fairly constant in 2016/17, at 40,370.


Numbers of students on Higher Education courses at Welsh Further Education Institutions are available from 2016/17 onwards. They are not included in the analysis below as there is no historic data to compare with; however the data can be viewed using the Coverage marker in the related StatsWales tables.



Datasets and interactive tools


Lucy Teague

Telephone: 0300 025 6695


Telephone: 0300 025 8099