VitalStats: Public Higher Education, 2016

Monday, March 12, 2018

This issue of VitalStats, Public Higher Education, 2016 marks the seventh year of the Council on Higher
Education (CHE) publishing this series. The series provides the latest audited data available on the higher
education sector in an easy to use format. VitalStats 2016 contains data covering the period 2011 to 2016.
Most of the graphs in the publication are based on data extracted from the Higher Education Management
Information System (HEMIS), and the CHE expresses appreciation to the Department of Higher Education
and Training (DHET) for collecting and extracting these data for use by the CHE and for providing the relevant
financial and research data. The CHE is also grateful to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
for financial data and to Statistics South Africa for population data.

As in previous issues, the first four sections of the publication cover student data, showing the size and shape
of the sector with graphs indicating enrolments and numbers of graduates according to race; gender;
qualification type; field of study; institutional type and other relevant categories.

The fifth section of the publication (purple) provides data on staffing at public universities, broken down into
various categories. The sixth section (blue) comprises cohort analyses of students that entered diploma,
degree and postgraduate studies in 2011, tracking their throughput rates for particular qualification types.
Owing to the different regulation time associated with the mode of study (distance and often part -time) at the
University of South Africa (UNISA), data for UNISA are considered separately in this section (as indicated on
the relevant graphs). The CHE would like to thank Charles Sheppard for carrying out the cohort studies for
this publication.

The final section of VitalStats includes financial and research output data, with new graphs showing NSFAS
allocations. The publication also includes a glossary based on HEMIS definitions and appendices listing the
Classification of Educational Subject Matter or CESM categories; the various universities by institutional type;
a description of the cohort analysis methodology and lists of the qualifications included in the analyses.

The role of the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate staff, particularly Michael Gordon, in developing
VitalStats is greatly appreciated. The CHE welcomes any feedback on this publication, which can be sent to
Genevieve Simpson ( The publication can also be downloaded from the CHE’s
website (

Dr Denyse Webbstock

Director: Monitoring and Evaluation