By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 10 February, 2021
A new report, published by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) today, has revealed that the number of students at Irish higher educational institutions has steadily increased and that there is now a higher proportion of female students attending Universities or Associate/Affiliate Colleges than men.
The report – The Social and Living Conditions of Higher Education Students in Ireland – is part of the Eurostudent VII Report, which collates comparable data on student life across Europe. The survey asks students to report on aspects of their lives ranging from their health and wellbeing, income and expenditure, socio-economic background to travel and accommodation.
Ireland is one of 30 countries which participated in the Eurostudent VII survey in April/May 2019 and this report provides results from almost 20,000 students attending higher education institutes in Ireland.
Its key findings include:
· The proportion of students studying at Irish higher education institutions has steadily increased in recent years – since the last Eurostudent report in 2016, the numbers of students enrolled has increased by 3.8%;
· At undergraduate level, 52% of full-time students and 54% of part-time students are female. At postgraduate level for full-time students, this rises to 58% and for part-time students to 55%;
· Students report high levels of feeling that they ‘fit’ into higher education and appear to have few doubts that higher education was the right choice for them;
· Student satisfaction with the quality of teaching and the facilities of their institutions is high;
· 74% of students have experienced at least one form of difficulty during higher education. The most common being difficulties due to the standard of work in their programme, followed by financial difficulties.
HEA CEO Dr Alan Wall said this report provides a wealth of internationally comparable demographic, economic and social data.
“Over the last five years, the Irish higher education sector has made remarkable progress in expanding opportunities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with overall enrolments increasing by 11% during this time period,” he said.
“The information presented in this report provides an extremely valuable resource for a wide variety of stakeholders, including policy makers, academics, students and all those with an interest in student wellbeing.”