Rise in number of students getting a first or 2:1 (UK)

By John Morgan

The number of firsts and 2:1s awarded by UK universities has continued to rise, now accounting for almost two thirds of undergraduates completing their first degree.
 This is among the facts established in new data from by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which show that the proportion who gained a first or upper second “has shown a steady increase from 60 per cent in 2006-07 to 64 per cent in 2010-11”.

The figures also show that women scored better than men, with 66 per cent of their first degree classifications being firsts or 2:1s, compared to 61 per cent for men. The overall number of student enrolments stood at 2,501,295 in 2010-11, according to Hesa, showing no percentage change from the previous year. Postgraduate enrolments rose 2 per cent between 2009-10 and 2010-11. The total number of first year undergraduate enrolments, meanwhile, stood at 1,145,970, a fall of 3 per cent on the year before.

While the number of full-time first-year enrolments showed no percentage change, part-time first-year enrolments fell by 8 per cent. That may concern universities with large numbers of part-time students, as many observers believe the higher fee regime to be introduced this autumn will lead to a further fall in part-time numbers. There was a significant rise in the number of student enrolments from outside the European Union (up 6 per cent), while the number of UK-domiciled students fell from 2,087,615 to 2,073,070, a 1 per cent decrease. The data also show a sharp increase in the number of students studying wholly overseas for UK qualifications, up from 408,685 to 503,795.

Source: Times Higher Education http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=418690&c=1