Record Number Of People In Higher Education

New figures have revealed that student numbers in the higher education sector reached a record high in 2017.

They increased from 196,000 in 2011/12 to almost 232,000, an increase of 18%.

Over 70,500 people graduated, 49,000 of which had achieved undergraduate degrees, while 21,500 left with postgraduate qualifications.

This represents an increase of 8.5% over the past four years.

A pattern of change can also be seen with regards to methods of study, with some 17% of students opting to work towards their degree on a part-time basis.

Almost 8,000 people accessed their higher education course remotely, a further increase.

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, welcomed the statistics.

"The efforts of the Institutions in responding to demand and facilitating the increased number of students cannot be underestimated," she said.

"I also welcome the fact that our higher education institutions are strongly engaged in the delivery of a wider range of apprenticeships. I would like to encourage young people considering their options over the coming weeks to fully explore all that is on offer, including apprenticeship opportunities."

She also highlighted that higher education is no longer a stepwise progression from school, and that more are developing the opinion that education is a lifelong pathway.

In the last year, 39,682 people aged 25 or over have returned to education as an undergraduate, either for the first time or to re-skill in a new area of study.


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 February 2019
Govt Allocate €23m For Higher Education Innovation Fund
A total of €23 million has been awarded to projects across 23 higher education institutions as part of the new Innovation and Transformation fund. The programme was launched in 2018 as part of the modernisation and reform of the funding model for higher education.
19 August 2011
€35m Education Campus Approved
The Irish Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has given the green light to Co. Monaghan Vocational Education Committee to proceed to the next stage in the construction of a €35 million education campus. Following a tender process, the VEC will commence construction on the new campus.
23 September 2010
Foreign Education Sector To Boost Earnings
A new blueprint is targeting €1.2 billion earnings annually from the foreign education sector. The Government has launched a major new strategy aimed at increasing international student numbers in higher education by 50% and in English language schools by 25% by 2015.
08 January 2009
Research Investment Fund Boosted
A €300 million research fund has been announced by the Government. Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe launched the latest phase of his Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions, which will run over the five years of 2009 to 2013.
23 January 2018
Latest Student Experience Report Published
The latest study into how students experience university life has been published by the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor. More than 20,000 students attending higher education institutions were surveyed as part of the report.