Education in the media: Friday 12 January 2018

Today’s education in the media blog looks at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) statistics on enrolments and degree qualifications.

HESA statistics

Today, the Higher Education Statistics Agency released figures on enrolments and degree qualifications at higher education institutions (HEIs) in the 2016/17 academic year.

The stats show a rise in students from disadvantaged backgrounds, more EU undergraduate applications and an increase in BAME students going to university.

Much of the coverage of the statistics focuses on the increase in students getting firsts and 2:1 degrees. The Telegraph, Times, Mail, Guardian, THE, BBC and i news all lead on this angle, with the suggestion that because more students now get a 2:1 or first than get a 2:2 or third-class degree, university is becoming too easy.

The Independent focuses on the number of white students falling by 2 per cent while other ethnic groups saw significant increases.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Today’s figures show that more people are choosing to go to university, including those from disadvantaged areas and those whose parents did not go to university.

Our reforms are going even further to ensure equality of opportunity for all. The Office for Students will protect students’ interests, promote value for money and help people make more informed choices about where and what to study. The new Transparency Duty will also shine a light on institutions that need to do more to widen access from under-represented groups.

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