Minister of State Mitchell O’Connor welcomes record number of enrolments in Higher Education Institutions in 2017

18 January 2019 

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has welcomed today’s release of key statistics from the Higher Education Sector in ‘Higher Education: Key Facts and Figures’ by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Student numbers in the sector have increased from 196,000 in 2011/12 to almost 232,000 in 2017/18, an increase of some 18%. 

There were over 70,500 graduates of HEIs in 2017/18, of which 49,000 were undergraduates and over 21,500 were postgraduates. This represents an increase of 8.5% from 2013/2014.

How people access education and training is continuing to develop. 17% of students – over 40,100 people are studying part-time. In addition, almost 8,000 students now access Higher Education remotely, an increase of almost 2,000 students on two years ago.  

HEA Infographic enrolements 2019

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: The efforts of the Institutions in responding to demand and facilitating the increased number of students cannot be underestimated.   

The Minister of State also highlighted that ‘Higher Education is no longer a stepwise progression from school, the message that education is a lifelong pathway is gaining momentum.  In the last year 39,682 people aged 25 or over have made a conscious and life changing decision to return to education as an undergraduate, either for the first time or to re-skill in a new area of study.’

She continued “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.”

FULL FACTS AND FIGURES REPORT CLICK HERE