Written by Alyssa Walker

According to new figures published by the Department for the Economy (DfE), over a third of students in Northern Ireland begin their degrees elsewhere in the UK.

The statistics show that of the 14,035 students who started college in 2016-17, 65.5 percent stayed in Northern Ireland.

Where did the other 34.5 percent go? Scotland and northwest England. Students were particularly drawn to Liverpool, Dundee, Glasgow, and Edinburgh

According to the BBC, about half of 18-year olds in Northern Ireland enter higher education. The past ten years have seen a 4 percent uptick in the number of students from Northern Ireland studying elsewhere.  Northern Ireland also has the largest proportion of state-educated university entrants, and Northern Ireland is home to three of the four universities in the UK where all new students in the 2016/17 intake had graduated from state-funded schools. 

According to data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), 99.2 percent of the entrants at Northern Irish universities had graduated from state-funded schools, compared to 92.1 percent in Wales, 90 percent in England and 86.5 percent in Scotland. Hesa noted that all schools in Northern Ireland are classified as state-funded, even those that charge tuition fees because every school in Northern Ireland receives some state funding.

Learn more about studying in Ireland.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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