HE participation increases by 4%

Official statistics released today show an increased rate of participation in higher education. Following a drop in 2012/13 after the rise in tuition fees was implemented, the provisional Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR) estimate was 47%, up from 43% in 2012/13.

In 2011/12 the HEIPR was 49%, a sharp increase on 46% the year before thanks to more students choosing not to defer entry in order to avoid paying the higher tuition fees. The subsequent drop in 2012/13 was the first time the initial participation rate had fallen since 2006/7.

In 2013/14 the provisional HEIPR estimate for males was 42%, up from 39% in 2012/13. For female students the provisional participation rate in 2013/14 was 51%, up from 47% the previous year.

For full-time study, the provisional estimate for 2013/14 was 42%, a rise on 38% the year before and a rise of two percentage points compared to the estimate for 2010/11 of 40% the year before the rise of tuition fees took effect.

The provisional participation rate for part-time study was at it’s lowest ever at 4% in 2013/14, a decline of 1% from 2012/13. Since 2006/7 where the HEIPR was estimated to be 6%, the initial participation rate for part-time students has steadily declined. “Recent reductions in part time initial participation rates are largely driven by reduced female participation since females constitute the majority of part time students” says the release.

HEIPR estimates the actual entry rate in the current year of people who had not previously entered higher education at each age from 17 to 30. The measure looks at English domiciled first-time participants in HE at UK HE Institutions, and at English, Welsh and Scottish Further Education Colleges.

This year, due to methodological improvements, the complete time series of participation rates provided in the release has been recalculated.

Find the full statistical first release here.

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