Now home is where the university place is

18th October 1996 at 01:00
Almost half the nation's students are studying at universities close to home. Latest statistics reveal an estimated 48 per cent of full-time UK students selected universities within the region where they were living.

They show a strong desire to stay close to home among Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland students.

Analysis by the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) of the student profile last December discloses that just 3 per cent of Northern Ireland students ventured outside their local region.

In Wales almost half - 49 per cent - of the students studied at universities in their home region, while in Scotland the proportion was even higher at 77 per cent.

Statistics governing the 744,100 English students show that 45 per cent were in universities within their home region. They also divulge that more than half the students at Greater London institutions came from that area. This was in sharp contrast to East Anglia, where just one in five chose universities near home.

According to HESA, more than 1.6 million students were studying at higher education level in UK publicly-funded institutions last December - and more than half of them (51 per cent) were women.

Women accounted for 53 per cent of the new undergraduate entrants and the proportion was even higher for part-time study (61 per cent).

New female undergraduates dominated subjects allied to medicine, making up 83 per cent of students, and education (74 per cent).

Areas where men were most strongly represented were engineering and technology (86 per cent of all new entrants) and computer science (79 per cent).

Most popular choice across all types of study and age groups was for a combination of traditional subjects, which attracted almost one in every five new entrants, possibly reflecting the trend towards modular programmes of study.

While women accounted for slightly more than half of the undergraduates, 55 per cent of the 350,600-strong postgraduate population were men.

At postgraduate level, almost one in five of all students were on education courses. More than a quarter of all postgraduate women students were studying education.

HESA said that generally, the majority of new entrants were aged between 18 and 20, but almost a third were 25 or older.

More than half of the first year postgraduates studying full-time were 21 to 24, whereas more than 90 per cent of those on part-time courses were at least 25.

Just under a quarter of postgraduates came from overseas with a third from Asia and in the main from three countries - Hong Kong, which accounted for 5,300 students, Malaysia, 4,700 and Singapore, 3,000.

Of the new undergraduates, 12 per cent came from overseas with Malaysia leading the way with 5,400 students and the United States second with 3, 300. The European countries supplying the largest numbers of new entrants were Germany (5,000), Greece (4,900) and France (4,700).

Students in Higher Education Institutions 199596 is available, price Pounds 17.50, from the sales manager, HESA Services Ltd, 18 Royal Crescent, Cheltenham, GL50 3DA

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