It’s easier than ever to get a first at uni

Three quarters of us will get a first or 2:1

Record numbers are being awarded first and 2:1s, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Almost one in four graduates last year earned a first-class degree, and nearly three in four received an upper second – revealing an increase of eight per cent in the last five years.

The research found that the number of students being awarded firsts has risen from 17 per cent in 2011-2012 to 24 per cent last year, while the number of students receiving thirds fell by two per cent.


Women make up a record 57 per cent of last year’s university enrolments. Both men and women received firsts in equal numbers however a higher proportion of women received upper second class degrees.

This increase has prompted universities to introduce a higher education achievement report alongside degree classifications, showing what students do outside lecture time as well as a breakdown of academic performance and achievements.

Dispelling the myth that universities are handing out higher awards when they feel like it, Nick Hillman from the Higher Education Policy Institute said: “It’s in no one’s interests for people to think students are having an easier ride” adding “students seem to be drinking less and working more.”