First year entrants onto undergraduate degrees

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 554,445 people started an undergraduate degree at a UK higher education institution in the 2018 to 2019 academic year (plus another 9,000 whose ethnicity wasn’t known)
  • 74.7% were White, 11.5% were Asian, 7.9% were Black, 4.2% were from a Mixed ethnic background and 1.7% were from the Other ethnic group
  • in the 12 years to July 2019, the number and percentage of White undergraduate entrants decreased – it increased for all other ethnic groups
  • the Asian ethnic group saw the biggest increase in the percentage and number of entrants

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

This data measures the number of full-time and part-time students who started undergraduate degrees in the UK, by ethnicity.

Undergraduate degrees are usually bachelor's degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). Students must be on courses that lead to the award of a qualification or higher education credit.

In some cases the student’s first year of study may be the second or subsequent year of an undergraduate programme.

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

Student numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place, and have been calculated using the rounded student numbers published by HESA.

Not included in the data

Students from outside the UK are not asked to report their ethnicity and are not included.

The ethnic groups used in the 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 ethnicity was not known for 1.6% of first year undergraduate entrants in the 2018 to 2019 academic year. The percentages are based only on students whose ethnicity was known.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of first year entrants on undergraduate degrees by ethnicity
Asian Black Mixed White Other
Time Asian % Asian Number Black % Black Number Mixed % Mixed Number White % White Number Other % Other Number
2007/08 8.0 52,745 5.8 38,735 2.4 15,980 82.8 549,365 1.0 6,540
2008/09 8.1 57,165 6.2 43,975 2.6 18,280 82.2 582,495 1.0 6,850
2009/10 7.9 57,265 6.3 45,465 2.7 19,125 82.1 592,095 1.0 7,220
2010/11 8.1 55,955 6.3 43,165 2.8 19,515 81.8 562,385 1.0 6,575
2011/12 8.3 56,125 6.3 42,660 3.0 20,500 81.4 552,195 1.0 6,575
2012/13 9.0 50,105 7.0 38,870 3.1 17,485 79.6 442,385 1.2 6,785
2013/14 9.3 52,755 7.0 39,410 3.3 18,715 79.1 447,175 1.3 7,065
2014/15 9.8 55,025 7.1 39,865 3.5 19,775 78.1 436,865 1.4 7,755
2015/16 10.3 58,195 7.4 41,975 3.8 21,250 77.1 435,425 1.4 8,175
2016/17 10.8 60,110 7.7 42,820 3.9 21,950 76.1 424,265 1.5 8,565
2017/18 11.2 61,815 7.8 42,975 4.1 22,450 75.3 416,455 1.7 9,165
2018/19 11.5 63,670 7.9 43,925 4.2 23,380 74.7 413,895 1.7 9,580

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of First year entrants onto undergraduate degrees By ethnicity over time Summary

These percentages are based only on students whose ethnicity was known.

The data shows that:

  • 74.7% of people starting undergraduate degrees in the 2018 to 2019 academic year were White (including White ethnic minorities)
  • 11.5% were Asian, 7.9% were Black, 4.2% had Mixed ethnicity, and 1.7% were from the Other ethnic group
  • in the 12 years to July 2019, the percentage of entrants from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 17.2% to 25.3%
  • in the same period, the percentage of entrants from the Asian ethnic group increased from 8.0% to 11.5% – the largest percentage point increase out of all ethnic groups
  • the percentage of entrants from the Mixed ethnic group went up by 1.8 percentage points from 2.4% to 4.2%
  • in the same period, the percentage of entrants from the White ethnic group went down by around 8 percentage points from 82.8% to 74.7%, the only ethnic group which had a decrease

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National 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

5. Download the data

First year entrants onto undergraduate degrees - Spreadsheet (csv) 5 KB

Measure, Academic Year, Ethnicity, Ethnicity Type, Value, Value Type, Number, Numerator, Denominator