The number of students studying at The Open University has fallen for the 5th consecutive year, according to figures released by The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Data for student enrolments in 2014/15 were published a few days ago. It makes dismal reading for HE part-timers. Overall, the number of part-time students fell 6%, to below 600,000. This compares to the 800,000 recorded in 2010/11. Chart 1 of HESA’s analysis provides the details.

The 6% fall is concerning enough, but the decline in Open University student numbers has been even more dramatic. Overall, across the OU in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, HESA reports total student numbers at 132,365. This is 18,470 (12.2%) fewer than reported in 2013/14.

The data shows that 11.4% fewer students are Open University undergraduates, making a total of 122,805. Postgraduate numbers have sunk to 9,560, 21.8% fewer than in 2013/14.

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Tim Holyoake
My name's Tim. I'm 50, live and work in Derby, am happily married (since 1988) and have two beautiful grown-up daughters who are in their early 20s. I've been blogging away quietly at www.tenpencepiece.net since 2008 covering a diverse range of topics, but with a bias towards the joys and woes of being a mature student. Post40bloggers is a welcome addition to my world as it's always great to receive encouragement, ideas and challenges from friends who also love blogging, yet have their own unique perspective on life. I'm looking forward to sharing my passion for lifelong learning with this community as well as hearing your stories. I hope that those of you who haven't been bitten by the lifelong learning bug (yet!) feel suitably enthused and motivated to try something for yourself. Learning definitely isn't only for the young ...