Entrant and graduation rates increase
Latest data of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that, in the academic year 2021/2022, 77.4 thousand students are enrolled in higher education, which is 1.5 % less than a year ago. However, the number of entrant students and students obtaining a degree or qualification has increased compared to the previous year.
In the academic year 2021/2022, 29 thousand students were entering Latvian higher education institutions, 1.2 % more than a year earlier. Half of the entrant students (52.2 %) started their studies at Bachelor level, 24 % at Master level, 21.8 % at college level and 2 % at Doctoral level. The number of female entrant students has remained stable at 16.8 thousand or 57.8 % of the total number of entrants. More than half of the entrant students (57 %) have started their studies with their personal funds, while 43 % have started their studies with state budget funds. The largest share of students studying at personal expense is in Social sciences, commercial sciences and law programs (84.2 %), but at the expense of the state budget - in Engineering, manufacturing and construction study programmes (74.8 %).
In 2021, 14.7 thousand students obtained a degree or qualification; that is an increase of 1.3 % compared to the previous period. More than a third (35.9 %), or 5.3 thousand, obtained degrees in Social sciences, business and law and 18.5 %, or 2.7 thousand, in Health and social welfare. 1.7 thousand or 11.3 % of the total number of graduates studied Engineering, manufacturing and construction. Since 2010, the number of graduates in Latvian higher education institutions has almost halved.
More than a third of entrants study Social sciences, business and law
As in previous years, more than a third or the 10.5 thousand entrants chose to study Social sciences, business and law. The number of entrants in Engineering, manufacturing and construction programmes remained almost constant (4.2 thousand or 14.5 % of the total number of entrants). Entrant number in Health and social welfare programmes increased; 4.8 thousand students (16.4 %) chose these programmes, that is 239 more than in the previous year. Meanwhile, the most significant decline was observed in service-related programmes, with 2 thousand entrants, which is 261 fewer than a year earlier. Entrant number also increased in Humanities and arts, as well as in Natural Sciences, mathematics and computing, with 2.3 and 3.2 thousand students respectively.
*Services programmes include: hotel, restaurant and catering, travel, tourism and leisure, sports etc.; transport services; environmental protection; civil and military defence.
Total number of enrolments decreases
The total number of enrolments (77.4 thousand) has decreased by more than a thousand compared to the previous academic year, and by 5.5 thousand or 6.7 % over the last five years. 14.3 thousand students are enrolled in college-level programmes, 43.6 thousand in Bachelor programmes, 17.4 thousand in Master programmes and 2 thousand in Doctoral programmes.
The largest share of females in Education study programmes, males in Engineering, manufacturing and construction
The highest number of enrolments is still found in Social sciences, business and law, with 26.1 thousand, or one third of the total number of enrolments, and these programmes have a higher share of female enrolments (62.5 %). Health and social welfare programmes also have a large share of female enrolments (80 %), with a total of 13.5 thousand enrolments, or 17.4 % of the total number of enrolments. The number of enrolments in Health programmes increased by 2 % or 271 students during the year. In turn, Engineering, manufacturing and construction programmes, which account for 11.1 thousand or 14.4 % of the total number of enrolments, saw a decrease of 6.7 % or 798 students. There are predominantly male enrolments (76.1 %) in these programmes. 7.8 thousand students, or 10.1 % of the total number of enrolments, are studying Science, mathematics and computing programmes, which is 273 enrolments more than before. There are predominantly male enrolments (71.4 %) also in these programmes. In the academic year 2021/2022, the number of enrolments in Services study programmes decreased by 7.3 % or 491 students. The number of enrolments in the Humanities and arts as well as Education programmes is 6.1 and 5.1 thousand respectively, with a significantly higher share of female enrolments (73.2 % and 91.6 %).
9.8 thousand mobile students study in Latvia
This academic year, 3.8 thousand mobile students* have enrolled, which is 64 more than the previous year, but a quarter less than at the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year. However, for the second consecutive year, the total number of mobile students, which had been on a significant upward trend before the Covid-19 pandemic, has slightly decreased. There are currently 9.8 thousand mobile students studying in Latvia, which is 2.1 % fewer than last year, however almost double the number in 2014, when statistics on mobile students started to be compiled.
The majority of mobile students are from outside the European Union, most of them males
The majority of mobile students (70.4 %) have their previous education outside the European Union (EU), and almost two thirds of mobile students are males. Most of mobile students have acquired their previous education in India, Uzbekistan and Germany (41.8 % of the total number). More than half (58.2 %) of the students studying in Latvian higher education institutions who have completed their studies in Germany are females, while the majority of students from India and Uzbekistan who have come to study in Latvia are males (82.7 % and 81 % respectively).
The largest number of mobile students (2.5 thousand) study at Riga Stradiņš University, almost 80 % of whom have completed their studies in an EU country. This compares with 52.6 % at the University of Latvia and only 3.2 % at Riga Technical University, of the total number of mobile students with previous education in EU countries. In total, these three universities have 5 thousand students, or 51.5 % of the total mobile student population.
Mobile students from EU countries are most likely to study for a Master's degree
Almost half (49.2 %) of the total number of mobile students study at Masters level, while 45.8 % study at Bachelor level. Of the mobile students with prior education in EU countries, 85.6 % are studying at Masters level. Mobile students are most likely to study Social sciences, business and law (41.2 %) as well as Health and social welfare (29.3 %). The majority of mobile students with previous education in EU countries study Health and social welfare programmes (78.1 %).
Almost half of the total number of students study at the three largest Latvian universities
This academic year, 53 higher education institutions (29 universities and 24 colleges) are offering studies, that is one less than last year. 77.2 % of the total number of students study at state universities and colleges, compared with 22.8 % at private educational institutions. The three largest Latvian universities (University of Latvia, Riga Technical University and Riga Stradiņš University) account for almost half (49.2 %) of the total number of enrolments. In total, 16 higher education institutions have more than a thousand students, while 13 institutions, almost a quarter of the total, have fewer than 200 students.
In the academic year 2021/2022, 20 higher education institutions offer doctoral-level studies in Latvia. They have 2 032 doctoral students, including 1 075 females and 957 males, of whom a third (33.1 %) study Social sciences, business and law, while a fifth (20.4 %) study Engineering, manufacturing and construction.
*Mobile students are persons who have received their previous education outside Latvia and are studying in Latvia with the aim of obtaining a certain level of higher education (degree or qualification).