Students in HE – some interesting bits..

Hey up – it is a new year and at Visualising HE towers we made a new year’s resolution that we would keep up with the latest HE data releases. So we were pleased that HESA provided us with an early new year present in the form of some summary student statistics loveliness.

The lovely people in Cheltenham have taken a slightly different tact with this release with an approach guiding the reader through the analysis and allowing the draw down of the data that supports each chart so that you can revisit the story for additional insight.  This approach has not had universal acclaim (a superb WonkHE article on the subject) but it gave us rich pickings for our Visualising HE fun.

So where to start? With all the discussions around Brexit and the widening discussions around the value international students have on the UK economy it was felt that looking at where the students come from would be worth a peak.

Take 1: UK vs. Non-UK Enrolments

The first viz uses data from figure 6 and focuses on Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and to what degree their enrolments come from the UK against non UK enrolments.

UK vs Not UK (1)

The interactive viz is here and the vispiration came from the great Ben Jones blog post.

The main takeaways from this is that (unsurprisingly) the number of UK enrolments is quite spread with most HEI taking in sizeable cohorts.  When looking at non UK enrolments there are many HEI taking small amounts then a few taking in the larger numbers.

In terms of interesting HEI the University of Manchester stands out just through its sheer size both for UK and Non UK enrolments where it is among the largest in both categories. Imperial College has a slightly different balance with nearly as many non UK enrolments as UK.  Then the reverse of that is Sheffield Hallam who have a large UK cohort and a small non UK cohort.

Take 2:  UK, Other EU and Non-EU 1st year enrolment Trends

The second viz uses data from figure 8 and builds onto the international question by separating the EU and Non-EU entrants to deliver a quick insight into the general trends across the sector. Figure 8_visualisingHE

The interactive viz is here.

The main takeaways from this visualisation are the predominance and continued growth of UK domiciled students entering at first degree in UK HE in 2016/17, and the continued proportional decline of the Non EU first degree postgraduate research (PGR) and postgraduate taught (PGT) student populations.

The filters on the top right of this dashboard allow us to delve further into the data set and see the trends at country level. It appears that the the decline of the Non EU entrants at a postgraduate level is most prominently observed at HEIs in Wales, where first year enrolments on both PGT and PGR programmes have experienced the sharpest decline during the last four years.Adam's UK-EU-NonEU Enrolmentspng.png

Take 3: Subjects’ Popularity and the Gender Gap

The third viz uses the data from figure 12 and presents an overall view of the new enrolments in the sector with a slight focus on the subjects’ popularity (science vs. non-science enrolments) and the gender gap (male vs. female enrolments).


The interactive viz is here.

The main takeaways from this dashboard are that enrolments in the science subject areas, represented with blue diamonds, have increased more than enrolments in the non-science subject areas, shown as grey circles, since 2012/13.

A further insight is available through the in-built #VizInTooltips available on hover. From these we can see that first year enrolments on ‘Computer science’ related programmes have increased at both First degree and Postgraduate Taught (PGT) levels.

Summary - Computer Science.png

The dashboard also highlights that the ‘Business & administrative studies’ appear to attract similar numbers of male and female students. All of the subjects dominated by male enrolments are from the science field. However, the gender gap has been gradually decreasing for some of them: ‘Architecture, building & planning’ is a good example where the difference has decreased from 28 to 20 percentage points.

Summary - Architecture.png

Take 4: Top 10 Non-EU Domiciles

The last take on HESA’s SFR for 2016/17 uses data from figure 11 and is the colourful  #Coffetableviz style visualisation of the Top 10 Non-EU Domiciles for First Year enrolments in the UK.

Non EU international dom first year enrolments to UK HE_white

The interactive viz is here.

The main takeaways here are the solid first position for enrolments from China and the fact that the top 10 domiciles have remained the same since 2011/12. Other more noticeable changes include Nigeria’s decline from 4th to 6th position (shown in orange) and Hong Kong’s rise from a steady 6th to a 4th position from last year (shown in light green).

That’s it for now from us. Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoyed exploring our data visualisations!


Dave, Adam and Elena


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