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Latest patterns and trends in UK higher education

Universities UK has published its latest Patterns and trends report – published annually by Universities UK – presenting a range of data and analysis on the changing size and shape of UK higher education.

The report analyses the last 10 years in higher education, focusing on applications, student demographics and graduate outcomes; staff backgrounds and expertise; and the income and expenditure of higher education institutions.

Main findings include:

  • Demand for university places from 18-year-olds has increased, with those from less advantaged backgrounds 49% more likely to apply than a decade ago
  • In 2016–17, more than 400,000 international students came to study in the UK, which is 19% of all students (5.8% other EU and 13.3% non-EU respectively)
  • In 2017, the average salary for graduates in the UK was £33,000, compared to £23,000 for non-graduates. Only 2.8% of graduates were unemployed in 2017, compared to 5.3% of those without a degree
  • UK higher education institutions employed 419,585 staff, of whom 49.3% were on academic contracts, 11.9% were from EU (non-UK) countries, and 8.1% from non-EU countries
  • In 2016-17, the total income of UK universities was £35.7 billion. Less than half (46.9%) of total income came from fees related to teaching (£16.7 billion). Income from research represented around a fifth (22.1%, £7.9 billion) of the total, while endowments and investments (2.4%) and other income (19.4%) made up the remainder.

Patterns and trends in UK higher education 2018 presents an overview of the sector in the last 10 years. It uses latest data up until 2016-17.

In 2016–17, there were 162 higher education institutions in the UK, excluding further education colleges, in receipt of public funding via one of the UK funding councils. This report features aggregated data from all 162, plus the University of Buckingham, largely based on institutional returns to the Higher Educations Statistics Agency (HESA).

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