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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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This release, the first of a series of updates for 2015-16, features data on undergraduate education, postgraduate education and the HE workforce. The key facts highlighted include:

  • Numbers of full-time UK and other European Union (EU) undergraduate entrants increased by 4 per cent in 2015-16, to a total of around 404,000. The overall UK and other EU full-time undergraduate population has increased to almost 1.1 million.
  • There has been a 58 per cent decrease (150,000 students) in entrants to part-time undergraduate study since 2010-11. Most of this decline has been in undergraduate courses other than first degrees.
  • The number of UK and other EU students starting full-time postgraduate research courses increased to a record high of 15,300. The number of UK and other EU students starting part-time postgraduate research courses also increased.
  • International (non-EU) students made up 61 per cent of all entrants to taught postgraduate courses in 2014-15. The numbers of Chinese students entering taught postgraduate courses increased by 2.4 per cent, but those of Indian entrants fell by 11 per cent.
  • A total of 295,000 staff were employed by English higher education institutions in 2014-15 on permanent, open-ended or fixed term contracts. The number of academic staff increased by 4 per cent in 2014-15.
  • The numbers of male and female lecturers are relatively equal, but the proportion of women declines in more senior academic positions. In 2014-15, 49 per cent of lecturers were female, but only 39 per cent of senior lecturers were female and just 24 per cent of professors were female.


HEFCE has published HE in England annually since 2012-13, but for the first time this year it will primarily be available as an online resource.

There will be further releases in the coming months as analysis of the latest data becomes available. These will provide key facts on subject provision, student characteristics, HE providers, research and knowledge exchange, and the financial health of higher education institutions.