UK Higher Education

Data gathered from Universities UK website.

Number of HEIs

In 2016–17 there were 162 higher education providers in the UK in receipt of public funding via one of the UK funding councils that returned data to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. 

Number of Enrolment

In 2016–17, there were 2.32 million students studying at UK higher education institutions.

  • Undergraduate: 1.76 million
  • Postgraduate: 551,585
  • Full time: 1.80 million
  • Part time: 518,930
  • Students from the UK: 1.87 million
  • Students from the EU: 134,835
  • Students from non-EU countries: 307,540

Graduate Employment

Figures from 2015–16 show that more than 90% of graduates were in work or further study within six months of leaving university. 

  • In 2016, working age (aged 16 to 64) graduates earned on average £9,500 more than non-graduates.

Staff in higher education institutions (2016-17)

  • Academic staff employed at UK universities: 206,870
  • Non-academic staff employed at UK universities: 212,840 

The economic impact of universities (2014–15)

In 2014–15, universities across the UK generated £95 billion in gross output for the economy.

  • The UK university sector contributed £21.5 billion to GDP, representing 1.2% of the UK's GDP.
  • The sector also supported more than 940,000 jobs in the UK.

University research

The 2014 Research Excellent Framework rated 76% of the research submitted as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

  • UK academic research productivity is 3.6 times the world average.
  • In 2014, the UK represented 4.1% of the world's researchers, and accounted for 15.2% of the world's most highly-cited articles.

Student satisfaction

The latest National Student Survey, published in 2017, found that 84% of students were satisfied with their course.

  • In 2017, 84% of respondents agreed that they were provided with learning opportunities such as exploring ideas or concepts in depth and applying what they had learnt.

For more information on UK higher education statistics, please refer to UK Higher Facts and Figures 2017.

Transnational Education in the UK

  • The five countries where the most UK HE TNE is delivered (Malaysia, Hong Kong, Oman, Singapore and Sri Lanka) have remained constant since 2012-13.  however the next five countries on the list have changed (Egypt, China, Greece, Germany, India), showing that this is an evolving landscape;
  • There are only 15 countries in the world where the UK does not offer any TNE
  • Since 2012-13 there has been an increase in the flexibility of offer in mode of delivery, with more programmes being offered as full-time, part-time or both.

Commissioned with support from the Universities UK International, the British Council and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, the Universities UK prepared the research report, The scale and scope of UK higher education transnational education, which provides useful information on UK's outgoing Higher Education Transnational Education (TNE).