Record High: Higher Education Enrollment in Portugal Surges to 446,028 in 2022/23

Portugal Europe Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News Oct 04, 2023

Portugal flag on a street in Porto

The number of students at Portuguese higher education institutions reached a record high in the 2022/2023 academic year, official data have revealed.

Figures from the Directorate-General for Education and Science Statistics (DGEEC) show the number of students totaled 446,028 during the last academic year, an increase of 12,811 or three percent from the previous academic year.

Of these students, 359,397 enrolled in public higher education institutions and the remaining 86,631 in private higher education, while 155,082 started their first year of studies for the first time, reports.

The increase means the country is making significant progress toward achieving its long-term target. By 2030, Portugal aims to have an enrollment rate of 60 percent among 20-year-olds and a 60 percent rate of higher education graduates within the 30 to 34 age group.

A total of 223,564 students attended higher education institutions, and 135,833 students polytechnic higher education institutions.

“17,822 students were enrolled in higher education establishments, under international credit mobility programs (for example, the Erasmus Program), which confirms the growth trend recorded in recent post-pandemic years,” DGEE’s report reads.

The majority of students (75 percent) were enrolled in introductory training programs distributed among 21,263 professional higher technical courses. Over 277,000 were pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and 37,201 enrolled in integrated master’s programs.

The top fields of study enrolling most students included:

  • Business Sciences, Administration, and Law - 98,723 students (22 percent).
  • Engineering, Manufacturing Industries, and Construction - 88,550 students (20 percent).
  • Health and Social Protection - 68,941 students (16 percent).

According to data, among the people who enrolled for the first time, there were more women than men pursuing educational and training programs. A higher proportion of women were enrolling in the following fields:

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Social Sciences, Journalism, and Information
  • Business Sciences, Administration, and Law
  • Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Statistics
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, and Veterinary Sciences
  • Health and Social Protection

The number of students in Portugal has also increased by 24 percent since the 2015/16 academic year, when there were 358,450 students at the university.

Despite their education, women in Portugal earn less than men in a year, a recent report by the UNDP has revealed. According to the report, women in Portugal spend a month more than men in education, yet they earn $9,414 less than men annually.

Portugal is also the chosen study destination for thousands of international students every year who select Portuguese higher education, whether for a semester or to pursue the entire degree.

As Statistics Portugal revealed, during the 2021/22 academic year, nearly 70,000 international students, most of them female, were enrolled in tertiary education in the country. In 2021/22, Portugal's overall number of students was 433,217 - 363,252 domestic students and 69,965 international students.

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