Press Release

Higher education entrant number up by 1.9 %

Latest data of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that in the academic year 2018/2019 higher education is acquired by 80.4 thousand students, which is a drop of 1.5 % over the year. For the first time since 2012, slight rise was registered in the number of entrants.

In this academic year, 27.6 thousand students entered higher education institutions – 1.9 % more than a year ago. Over the years, the trends have not changed notably – also this year females account for 15.4 thousand or 55.8 % of the higher education institution entrants. More than a half of the first-year students (55 %) were non-subsidised, and studies of 45 % of the students were state-subsidised.

Similarly like in the previous years, also this year majority of the first-year students (42.7 %) entered programmes of social sciences and humanities – 9.6 and 2.2 thousand, respectively. At the same time, 2018 was characteristic with positive trends in the number of engineering and life science programme entrants – 2.6 % rise, including IT and construction programmes always being the most demanded professions on the labour market1. Higher popularity is also gained by health and welfare programmes indicating an entrant number increase of 5.8 %.

* Social sciences, business and law together with humanities and arts;

** Science, mathematics and computing together with engineering, manufacturing and construction;

*** Services programmes include: hotel, restaurant and catering, travel, tourism and leisure, sports, etc.; transport services; environmental protection; security services (protection of persons and property, military defence).


In the academic year 2018/2019, no changes were observed in the number of educational institutions – 54 (29 universities and 25 colleges). Over the year, enrolments have dropped by 1.2 thousand, while since 2015 by 3.9 thousand. Social sciences and humanities still are the most popular fields of education – chosen by 33.8 thousand students or 42 % of the total enrolments, followed by engineering and science – 24.6 %. Over the years, also health programme enrolments have grown – this academic year it was chosen by 12.5 thousand students or 15.6 % of the enrolments, indicating a rise of 16.5 % over the past five years.

Since 2010, the number of Latvian higher education institution graduates has declined almost twice. However, in 2018 higher education was acquired by 15.4 thousand students, which is 5.3 % more than year before. Out of the number, more than one third or 5.6 thousand graduates gained degree in social sciences, business and law.

At the same time, the number of mobile students (those who acquired previous education abroad) is still growing significantly. Currently in Latvia there are 8.4 thousand mobile students, which is 11.7 % more than last year and 60.8 % more than in 2014 when such statistics was compiled for the first time. More than a half (51 %) of mobile students acquired their previous education in India, Uzbekistan and Germany. Unlike the gender proportions among Latvian students, majority of mobile students (65.9 %) are males. The largest share of mobile students (2.2 thousand) study in Rīga Stradiņš University.

Key indicators of higher education








Universities and colleges








 101 270

 131 125

 103 856

82 914

81 602

80 357


32 950

43 826

31 012

28 588

27 140

27 652


15 009

26 124

26 545

15 796

14 587

15 363

More latest higher education statistics will be available on 5 March in the CSB website section Education.


1Press release of the Employer’s Confederation of Latvia of 5 July 2018 “IT specialities still are the most demanded occupations by employers” (in Latvian).


Media requests:
Communication Section
Phone: +371 67366989, +371 27880666

More information on data:
Rolands Ņikitins
Social Statistics Data Compilation and Analysis Section
Phone: +371 67366742


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