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Enrolment numbers in universities in Spain 2008/2009 to 2019/2020

The number of students enrolled at Spanish universities maintained steadily above 1.4 million over the past decade. The number of university students fluctuated over the period under review, with figures registering the lowest point during the 2008/2009 academic year at over 1.4 million students and peaking during the 2019/2020 academic year at over 1.6 million. Most of the university students in Spain opted for public institutions to complete their studies, with approximately 1.3 million enrolled during the 2019/2020 academic year.

Spain and its university scene

As of 2019, Spain had 83 universities, most of them located in its capital autonomous community Madrid, which was serviced by 14 higher education institutions. Catalonia and Andalusia ranked second and third with 12 and 11 universities respectively. The latest data revealed that most students enrolled in social and legal science degrees, with approximately 570 thousand future graduates during the 2016/2017 academic year. Not all fields of study are however equally popular among male and female students – male students made up 75 percent of engineering and architecture degrees in 2018, whereas 70 percent of all health science students were female.

Educational attainment in Spain

Over the past decade, Spain saw a great improvement in the proportion of population that attained an upper secondary or tertiary education. According to the latest studies, by 2018 over 60 percent of those aged 25 and over completed their secondary or tertiary education. This figure increased constantly over the period under review, with results showing a much smaller proportion in 2007, when the share of Spaniards aged 25 and over that had attained this educational level stood only at 50 percent. Just as the most recent data revealed, the number of years the average person is expected to dedicate to their education in Spain stood at 18 in 2015.

Number of students enrolled at universities in Spain from the school year 2008/2009 to 2019/2020

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Release date




Survey time period

2008 to 2019

Special properties

undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate education

Supplementary notes

* Provisional data.

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