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HEA Statistical Newsletter Quarter 2 2023

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HEA Statistics Newsletter

Read about the latest HEA Statistics!
Higher Education AuthorityHigher Education Authority
The HEA leads the strategic development of the Irish higher education and research system

HEA Statistics Newsletter Quarter 2 2023

Welcome to the fifth edition of the HEA Quarterly Statistics Newsletter.

We are delighted to share with you that the HEA student and graduate data have been certified by the Central Statistics Office as compliant with the Irish Statistical System Code of Practice (ISSCOP).  We have more details on this below.

We have plenty of new releases for you in this edition. Firstly, the 8th edition of the Eurostudent Survey and secondly, a report profiling disability among students in Irish Higher Education Institutions.

We also have two info-bytes - Graduate Outcomes for Nursing and Midwifery Undergraduate Honours Degree Graduates; and a report on the student numbers and graduate outcomes for Construction related fields of study.

Our featured dashboard in this report is the Eurostudent dashboard. You can compare topics from the report and compare across participating countries. There is also a section outlining news of the latest key dates, deadlines and events.

We hope you find this newsletter interesting and informative, let us know your feedback, or anything you would like included in future editions, at [email protected]. You can sign up to receive this newsletter direct to your inbox here.

Eurostudent 8

The Ireland Eurostudent 8 report was launched on 20 April at the first HEA national wellbeing conference, “Supporting Success through Wellbeing in Higher Education”. This report presents an overview of the social and living conditions of higher education students in Ireland. One of the primary purposes of the Eurostudent project is to collate comparable data to enable cross-national comparisons. This is the 8th round of Eurostudent and the project has been running since 1997. Approximately 21,000 valid student responses (from a population of approximately 240,000 students) were received during the data collection period. This represented a response rate of 8.7 percent of all students.

The key findings are as follows:


  • Since the last Eurostudent survey, which was conducted in 2019, the numbers of students enrolled has increased by 6.3 percent.
  • The survey indicates that 11 percent of the total student population have children. Of the full-time undergraduate population only 4 percent of students have children. Of the part-time undergraduate population, 46 percent have children.
  •  International students are typically older than Irish students.
  • Overall, approximately 32 percent of all students indicated that they have a disability, compared with 25 percent in the previous Eurostudent report. A higher level of disability is noted for full-time students than part-time students. The most commonly reported disability is mental health problems.

College Entry Route, Transition and Access:

  • The majority of students entering higher education enter through the traditional route of the Leaving Certificate examinations.
  • Higher levels of parental education and wealth correspond with direct entry into higher education, whereas lower levels of parental education and wealth corresponding with delayed entry into higher education.

Income and Expenditure

  • The overall average monthly income for all students was €1,122. The overall average monthly expenditure for all students was €1,340.
  •  For almost all student groups expenditure exceeds income, and as such these groups are highly reliant upon external support from their family or partners to fill this gap.
  • Approximately 33 percent of the total student population say that they are experiencing serious (or very serious) financial problems. In the last Eurostudent report, 26 percent of the total student population reported serious financial difficulties.


  • Accommodation is the largest single expenditure which accounts for around 35 percent of all expenditure, and the average spend on accommodation was €469 (up from €415 in the last Eurostudent report).
  • Where students live appears to depend on their mode of study and programme. Full-time undergraduates are likely to live with their parents or in student accommodation, whereas part-time students are more likely to live with their partners in private accommodation.

Course Workload, Student Employment and Time Budget

  • Postgraduate students on average spend almost 25 hours per week on personal study. In contrast, this is only 18 hours for undergraduates.
  • A higher proportion of students (49 percent of full-time undergraduates) who don't work during term receive funding from their parents than those who do work throughout term (32 percent of full-time undergraduates). 43 percent of full-time undergraduates have their bills paid regularly by their parents regardless of whether they work during term, or not.
  • Full-time students are likely to be employed in a field not closely related to their study area. Whereas for part-time students their employment is often closely related to their study area which appears to indicate that they are working before entering higher education and choosing vocational courses that align with their employment aims.

Student Mobility

  • Ireland has a low rate of student mobility with approximately 4 percent of all students having ever taken part in a temporary study period abroad since they first entered higher education. Furthermore, 5 percent are currently preparing for a study period abroad and 18 percent are intending to go abroad for a temporary study period in the future. Finances, time away from family and language competence are most cited barriers.

Mental Health and Well-being

  • Students appear to be relatively happy as 15 percent say they are extremely happy, and 41 percent say they are happy. Only 3 percent say that they are extremely unhappy.

Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic

  • Approximately 28 percent of students reported that the pandemic had no effect on their motivation; whereas 59 percent of students reported that the pandemic had a negative impact and only 13 percent report that it had a positive impact. Part-time students, postgraduate students and older students were more likely to report that the pandemic had no impact on their motivation.

Experiences of Discrimination

  • Approximately 35 percent of female students have at some point been treated as less smart or less capable than others because of who they are, in contrast only 25 percent of male students have experienced the same. Younger students also appear to experience this more than older students.
  • Approximately 32 percent of female students report that they have experienced sexual harassment at some point, compared with 14 percent of male students.
  • Female students are more likely to feel unsafe or very unsafe walking alone in their neighborhood and on campus compared to their male counterparts.

You can access further data, analysis and methodology information at the link below.

Read the Eurostudent 8 Report here

Disability Profile

A profile of students with a disability in higher education in Ireland is now available online. Data from this analysis comes from the Equal Access Survey (EAS). The EAS is an annual, voluntary set of question asked of first year full-time and part-time undergraduate students in HEA-funded institutions. 

Our website has the latest statistics available in an online report. The key findings are as follows:

  • Nearly 3 in 4 full-time undergraduate new entrants respond to the Equal Access Survey.
  • 17.8% of respondents state they have a disability.
  • The most common disability amongst new entrants is Learning Conditions (37.0%), followed by Psychological / Emotional Conditions (31.2%).
  • Those with Learning Conditions are 53.9% male, whereas in all other categories women outnumber men.
  • There are higher rates of mature students amongst those with Multiple Conditions (13.7%) and Physical Conditions (11.2%).
  • Wicklow has the highest rate of new entrants with a disability, at 23.1%.
  • Those with a Physical Condition are most disadvantaged, with 13.9% coming from disadvantaged areas.
  • 28.3% of new entrants who state they have a disability enter higher education through DARE.
  • Arts & Humanities is the most common field of study for new entrants with a disability, as opposed to Business, Administration & Law for students without a disability.

You can access this report at the link below.

Read the Disability Profile here

Featured Dashboard: Eurostudent Database

This dashboard provides provides key indicators on all topics covered by the EUROSTUDENT survey, for all participating countries. In addition to the charts and tables with detailed results, you can find (thematic) reports and other publications providing interpretations of several topics at the EUROSTUDENT website.

Click on each icon for more information on each topic.

Access the Eurostudent Database

Did you know...?
We have produced two info-byte reports in Q2 2023. These were short reports on: 1. Nursing and Midwifery Graduates 2. Construction student and graduate trends. These are 5-minute reads, less than 10 pages long. Check these out at the link below.
Research Info-Byte Series

Key deadlines, events and reports

ISSCOP Status: The CSO Management Board has approved the ISSCOP certification of the HEA on 27 June 2023. This means that HEA data on students and graduates collected as part of the SRS returns have now achieved ‘Official Statistics’ status. These datasets have been assessed through a lengthy, detailed process, and are now compliant with the Irish Statistical System Code of Practice (ISSCOP).

This is a quality assurance mark, demonstrating the HEA’s commitment to the following principles – professional independence, timeliness and punctuality, accessibility and clarity, commitment to quality, and confidentiality.

March Student Record System returns: Thank you to all the HEIs for the work on the SRS returns so far. A reminder that the SRS returns process is ongoing and to prioritise finalising any outstanding audits or sign off requests.

Forthcoming reports: In Q3 2023 further info-bytes will be released, among these will be a short report on Medical Education in Ireland.  We will feature these in our 2023 Q3 issue.

Graduate Outcomes Survey: We have also began the Class of 2022 Graduate Outcomes Survey with a census date of 31st of March. Survey uploads and subsequent audits are ongoing. Deadline for data return is the first Friday in September.

View our statistical publications

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