The enrolment rate of 19 year olds fell from 68.4% in the autumn of 2017 to 59.9% in the autumn of 2018. The lower enrolment rate is probably linked to the reduced requirements for the matriculation exam and indicates that not all students who complete the matriculation exam in three years enter directly into programmes at the tertiary level. However, the enrolment rate of 19 year olds at the tertiary level has increased considerably, from 4.3% in 2017 to 10.8% in 2018. At the same time the enrolment rate of 20 year olds at the tertiary level increased less or from 19.0% to 20.8%.
A total of 94.8% of 16 year olds attended education above compulsory education in the autumn of 2018, almost the same enrolment rate as in 2017 but lower than in 2011-2015, when the rate was as high as 95.5%. The enrolment rate was lower for boys but higher for girls compared with 2017, 93.8% and 95.8% respectively.
The enrolment rate was higher for females than males in each age cohort from 16 to 29 years of age, with the exception of 19 year olds. When looking only at the upper secondary level there were more male than female students in each age cohort from the age of 19, which indicates that at that age many female students have already completed their upper secondary education but the males have not. In recent years the 20 year old cohort has been the youngest age cohort where there have been more males than females at the upper secondary level but in 2018 that age had dropped to 19 years.
An increase in the number of students at the tertiary level but decrease at other levels
When looking at student numbers instead of percentages, there were 40,977 students at levels above compulsory education in the autumn of 2018, more than 600 fewer than in the previous year. Fewer students were registered at the upper secondary level, post-secondary non-tertiary level and at the second stage of the tertiary level (studying for the doctoral degree), but there was a considerable increase in the number of students at the first stage of tertiary education.
There were 21,488 students at the upper secondary level, a decrease of 4.1% from the autumn of 2017. The majority of students were males, or 51.8%. A total of 18,346 students studied at the tertiary level as a whole, an increase of 2.4% from the previous year. The increase only took place among women, whose number increased by 4.4%. Women were 64.7% of students at the tertiary level in 2018. The number of male students at the tertiary level decreased somewhat, or by 0.9%. There were 577 students studying for the doctoral degree, 60 fewer than in the previous year (-9.4%).
More than one out of every three students at the upper secondary level was enrolled in vocational programmes
More than one out of every three students at the upper secondary level was enrolled in vocational programmes in the autumn of 2018, a similar proportion as in the previous year, while 69.3% were enrolled in general programmes. The proportion of students in vocational education was considerably higher among males, or 39.3%, and 21.5% for female students. The gap between the sexes increased between 2017 and 2018.
More tertiary level students in the field of education
Most students at the tertiary level studied in the field of social sciences, business and law in the autumn of 2018, 6,332 students. The second highest number of students was in the field of health and welfare, 2,717 students, followed by education (2,427); humanities and arts (2,273) and sciences, mathematics and computing (2,042). The proportional increase among tertiary students was all in the field of education, with 12.4% of students in 2017 and 13.2% in 2018.
Women outnumbered men in all fields of study at the tertiary level of education except in sciences, mathematics and computing as well as in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction. The share of women was greatest in the field of health and welfare, 84.7% of students and in education, 81.1%, but smallest in the field of sciences, mathematics and computing, 38.1% and in engineering, manufacturing and construction, 39.6% of students.
More than one out of every three students studying for the doctoral degree has foreign citizenship
In the autumn of 2018 210 students studying for the doctoral degree had a citizenship other than Icelandic, 36.4%, their number having increased in recent years. There were 367 Icelandic doctoral students but 106 came from European countries other than the Nordic countries, 51 came from Asia, 25 from America, 17 from the Nordic countries but fewer from Africa and Oceania. The proportion of foreign doctoral students was greatest in the area of sciences, mathematics and computing, where they were 66.9% of students, and in engineering, manufacturing and construction, where they were 61.4% of doctoral students.
About the data
Information is gathered directly from the schools and from the computer programme INNA used by schools at the upper secondary level, and refers to the number of students in the middle of October each year. The enrolment rate is computed by classifying students by age and domicile each year and computing their proportion of the relevant age group.