People starting at higher education providers with high, medium and low entry tariffs

Published

Last updated 6 January 2021 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • 765,290 people started an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a UK higher education provider in the 2018 to 2019 academic year where ethnicity was known (plus another 14,815 whose ethnicity wasn’t known)
  • 75.4% were White, 11.1% were Asian, 7.7% were Black, 4.0% were from a Mixed ethnic background, and 1.8% were from the Other ethnic group
  • 4.0% of students at high tariff providers were Black and 79.8% were White
  • 12.4% of students at low tariff providers were Black and 70.8% were White
  • 36.3% of all White students went to high tariff providers – the highest percentage of all ethnic groups
  • 17.6% of Black students went to high tariff providers, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups
Things you need to know

The data only includes students whose normal residence before starting their higher education qualification was in the UK, Guernsey and Jersey (including their smaller islands) and the Isle of Man.

What the data measures

The data includes students starting the first year of an undergraduate or postgraduate course, by ethnicity.

Undergraduate degrees are usually bachelor's degrees, such as Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc).

Postgraduate courses include doctorates (for example, PhD/DPhil), and Master’s degrees, such as Master of Engineering (MEng) and Master of Law (LLM).

Higher education institutions have been divided into 3 roughly equal groups according to the average number of UCAS points achieved by students. The groups are referred to as ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’ tariff providers.

Providers who did not fall into these groups are recorded in the ‘Other’ category. This includes some specialist higher education providers, The Open University, and further education colleges in Wales.

The groupings are adjusted for each academic year based on the tariff points for that year.

UCAS score data is based on the average (mean) UCAS points scores of undergraduate students aged 20 and under.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Data is shown for 5 aggregated ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

This means figures are shown for these groups as a whole.

Students record their own ethnicity, either when they apply for a degree course or when they register with a higher education institution. The percentages are based only on students whose ethnicity was known. You can see data for students whose ethnicity was not known in the tables.

2. Entrants to low, medium and high tariff institutions, by ethnicity

Percentage and number of entrants to low, medium or high tariff higher education providers, by ethnicity
High Medium Low Other All Tariffs
Ethnicity High % High Number of entrants Medium % Medium Number of entrants Low % Low Number of entrants Other % Other Number of entrants All Tariffs % All Tariffs Number of entrants
Asian 10.4 27,300 13.9 32,005 10.6 23,905 4.0 1,870 11.1 85,080
Black 4.0 10,400 8.1 18,725 12.4 28,060 3.8 1,755 7.7 58,940
Mixed 4.3 11,150 4.0 9,235 4.1 9,275 2.8 1,305 4.0 30,965
White 79.8 209,415 72.1 166,345 70.8 160,130 88.5 40,925 75.4 576,810
Other 1.5 4,040 1.9 4,395 2.1 4,650 0.9 405 1.8 13,495
Unknown N/A* 6,210 N/A* 3,825 N/A* 3,730 N/A* 1,055 N/A* 14,815

Download table data for ‘Entrants to low, medium and high tariff institutions, by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Entrants to low, medium and high tariff institutions, by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of People starting at higher education providers with high, medium and low entry tariffs Entrants to low, medium and high tariff institutions, by ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • 75.4% of students starting higher education courses in the UK were White, 11.1% were from Asian backgrounds, 7.7% were Black, 4.0% were from Mixed ethnic backgrounds, and 1.8% were from the Other ethnic group
  • White students made up 79.8% of all entrants to high tariff providers, compared with 70.8% to low tariff providers
  • Black students made up 4.0% of all entrants to high tariff providers, compared with 12.4% of entrants to low tariff providers

3. Ethnic groups of entrants, by tariff level of provider

Percentage and number of each ethnic group entering low, medium and high tariff providers
High Medium Low Other
Ethnicity High % High Number of entrants Medium % Medium Number of entrants Low % Low Number of entrants Other % Other Number of entrants
Asian 32.1 27,300 37.6 32,005 28.1 23,905 2.2 1,870
Black 17.6 10,400 31.8 18,725 47.6 28,060 3.0 1,755
Mixed 36.0 11,150 29.8 9,235 30.0 9,275 4.2 1,305
White 36.3 209,415 28.8 166,345 27.8 160,130 7.1 40,925
Other 29.9 4,040 32.6 4,395 34.5 4,650 3.0 405
Unknown 41.9 6,210 25.8 3,825 25.2 3,730 7.1 1,055

Download table data for ‘Ethnic groups of entrants, by tariff level of provider’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Ethnic groups of entrants, by tariff level of provider’ (CSV)

Summary of People starting at higher education providers with high, medium and low entry tariffs Ethnic groups of entrants, by tariff level of provider Summary

The data shows that:

  • 47.6% of all Black students went to low tariff providers, compared with 27.8% of all White students
  • 36.3% of all White students went to high tariff providers – the highest percentage of all ethnic groups, followed by 36.0% of students from Mixed ethnic backgrounds
  • 17.6% of all Black students went to high tariff providers, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 37.6% of students from Asian backgrounds went to medium tariff providers – the highest percentage of all ethnic groups, followed by 32.6% of students from the Other ethnic group

4. Methodology

Higher education providers were grouped according to their range of courses and the average tariff scores of their undergraduate students. A provider’s entry tariff is the average UCAS points score entrants achieved from A levels or equivalent.

‘Specialist’ higher education providers were defined as those that offer 60% or more of their courses in one or two subjects (based on full-time equivalence and academic cost centres).

The tariff score data was based on the average tariff scores of undergraduate entrants aged 20 and under in the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s (HESA) student record.

Students record their own ethnicity. In the case of full-time undergraduates, the information is captured as part of the admissions process through UCAS. For other student groups the information is taken directly by the higher education provider.

Rounding

Student numbers are rounded to the nearest 5 students. Percentages are calculated using unrounded numbers, and are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

UCAS Undergraduate End of Cycle Reports

Who's studying in HE?

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Rounding and suppression to anonymise statistics.

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Higher Education Statistics Agency

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Student information collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency is used extensively by various stakeholders for higher education:

  • funding
  • performance indicators
  • publications (including UNISTATS)
  • league tables

The student record collects individual data about students including:

  • the student’s entry profile and personal characteristics
  • module and course-level data
  • funding information
  • qualifications awarded

6. Download the data

First year entrants to HE by tariff of institution - Spreadsheet (csv) 32 KB

Measure, Ethnicity, Academic Year, Tariff Marker, Number, Value, Value_Note