HESES data, 2023

Our first in year look at student numbers is a bit of a worry.

David Kernohan is Deputy Editor of Wonkhe

As Wonkhe readers will already be aware, this year’s HESES release does not include data on FTE completions for each academic year.

Annoyingly, even though the Office for Students has calculated an implied non-completion rate for funding purposes (using last year’s proportions and this year’s data) this is not something we get to see. But we do get the rest of the HESES goodies, which includes – in the continued absence of the HESA Student data, our most up-to-date look at student numbers (for the 2023-24 year):

Our first chart looks at overall student instances, split by OfS price group. For home funded full time undergraduate students the biggest growth over the previous year has been in classroom based subjects, while we can see the decline in nursing students (familiar from UCAS) within price group B (lab- and practice-based sciences). There’s also an interesting decline in creative and media courses.

For full time postgraduate taught courses funded by the SLC loan, the lab sciences are a net winner for home students, with big year on year drops for classroom-based, and high-cost non-medical courses. Most of the growth in international taught postgraduate provision is in IT-related courses – this is bolstered by growth in part time PGT international provision in classroom based subjects.

[Full screen]

There’s also scope to view this data by provider. Coventry University is nearly 2,700 full-time international PGT students down on last year, with Brunel, Northampton, and Bradford among those hovering around 1k. East London is the big winner in this market, up 2,375 despite a drop in health-related recruitment.

Turning to FT home (first degree) undergraduates, Bath Spa is up over 8k, with Canterbury Christ Church up around 7k (both surely mainly through franchising). At the other end of the table, Coventry is down nearly 3k on last year.

[Full screen]

These statistics paint a concerning picture for the sector – when comparing them to the UCAS 2023 cycle outturn we can see that in-year attrition has caused some big shifts in numbers of both home and international students. If we got the HESES non-completion projections, we’d know more.

Leave a Reply