The Department has today published two statistical bulletins, which are provided in HTML format for the first time and include a range of interactive tables.
1. Enrolments at UK Higher Education Institutions: Northern Ireland Analysis 2021/22
This statistical bulletin provides information on the number of NI students enrolled at UK higher education institutions (HEIs) and the number of students enrolled at NI HEIs. In this press notice we focus on enrolments at NI HEIs.
Enrolments at NI HEIs - Key points:
Enrolments at NI HEIs have increased by a net 24% over the past decade and by 5% over the previous year.
- Over the decade since 2012/13 (55,895), enrolments at NI HEIs have increased by a net 24% (13,670). In 2021/22, 69,565 students were enrolled at NI HEIs, representing a net 5% increase from 2020/21 (66,245). This continues a trend of year-on-year increases that began in 2018/19, which relates to a number of factors, including pandemic-related increases, an increase in the number of available undergraduate and postgraduate places and an increase in overseas students.
Student numbers at NI HEIs have increased at all levels of study over the last year.
- Between 2020/21 and 2021/22, postgraduate enrolments at NI HEIs increased by 12% (from 17,890 to 20,085) and ‘other undergraduates’ increased by 12% (from 7,740 to 8,640). Over the same period, first degree enrolments increased by 1% (from 40,615 to 40,845).
A quarter of students at NI HEIs were domiciled outside NI, with a record high of one-fifth of students coming from non-EU countries.
- Of the 69,565 students enrolled at NI HEIs in 2021/22, 71% were from NI, 4% from GB, 3% from the Republic of Ireland, less than 1% from other EU countries and a record one-fifth (21%) from non-EU countries.
More than half of students at NI HEIs were enrolled on Broad STEM related subjects and almost a quarter of students were studying Narrow STEM related subjects.
- In 2021/22, over half (52%) of students at NI HEIs were studying a Broad STEM related subject and almost a quarter (23%) of students were studying a Narrow STEM related subject. Males (34%) were over twice as likely as females (15%) to be studying Narrow STEM subjects.
The HTML format bulletin is available to access on the Department’s website.
2. Qualifications gained at UK Higher Education Institutions: Northern Ireland Analysis 2021/22
This statistical bulletin provides information on higher education qualifications gained by students at NI HEIs and by NI domiciled students at UK HEIs. In this press notice, we focus on qualifications gained at NI HEIs.
Qualifications gained at NI HEIs - Key points:
The number of qualifiers from NI HEIs has increased by a net 17% over the past decade...
- The number of qualifiers from NI HEIs has increased by a net 17% over the past decade, up from 16,965 in 2012/13 to 19,900 in 2021/22.
… but this was down 2% from the previous year.
- At 19,900, the number of qualifications awarded at NI HEIs in 2021/22 was 2% lower than in 2020/21 (20,400). This small decrease follows a sharp increase between 2019/20 (15,985) and 2020/21 (20,400), which was due to a number of pandemic-related factors (including course extensions and delays in awards) and an increase in international postgraduate students.
Over a quarter of qualifiers from NI HEIs were domiciled outside NI, the highest proportion over the 10-year period, with a record number from non-EU countries.
- Over seven-tenths (71%) of students gaining a qualification at NI HEIs were from NI, while 5% were from GB, 3% from RoI, 1% from other EU countries and a record 20% from non-EU countries.
Nearly half of qualifications gained at NI HEIs were in a Broad STEM subject, with almost a quarter in a Narrow STEM subject.
- Nearly half (49%) of graduates from NI HEIs gained a qualification in a Broad STEM subject and almost a quarter (23%) in a Narrow STEM subject.
Over four-fifths of ‘first degree’ graduates from NI HEIs achieved either a first class or upper second class honours degree.
- Over four-fifths (82%) of ‘first degree’ graduates from NI HEIs achieved either a first class or upper second class honours degree in 2021/22. This is lower than the comparable figure of 84% seen in 2020/21. This decrease reflects the resumption of more normal practice during 2021/22, after the mitigating policies established during the pandemic were discontinued.
The HTML format bulletin is available on the Department’s website.
Notes to editors:
1. The statistics presented in these bulletins are based on data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the official agency for the collection of information on UK universities, which is now part of Jisc, the Designated Data Body for HE in England. HESA collects information from all publicly funded universities throughout Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and higher education (HE) providers in England registered with the Office for Students (OfS) in the Approved (fee cap) or Approved categories
2. The HESA data presented in these bulletins relate to students at HE institutions in the UK and do not include HE students at further education (FE) colleges in NI or GB, or at institutions in the Republic of Ireland.
3. Higher education students for the purpose of HESA's data collection are those students on courses for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (for example, courses at the level of Certificate of HE and above).
4. The academic year runs from 1 August to 31 July.
5. Narrow STEM includes the following subject areas: Biological and sports sciences; Psychology; Physical sciences; Mathematical sciences; Engineering and technology; Computing; and Geography, earth and environmental studies (natural sciences).
6. Broad STEM includes all those in Narrow STEM along with the following: Medicine and dentistry; Subjects allied to medicine; Veterinary sciences; Agriculture, food and related studies; and Architecture, building and planning.
7. Further notes and technical details are available in the bulletin on the Department’s website.
8. To keep up to date with news from the Department for the Economy you can follow us on the following social media channels:
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9. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at email@example.com.
10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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