Sharp rise in NI students achieving first class degrees

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Almost a quarter of Northern Ireland stuedents have been awarded top degree grades, a rise of more than 50% on five years ago.

According to new figures, the number of students achieving first-class degrees in 2015/16 was 23%, compared to 15% back in 2011/12.

The figures, released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, show that 24% of students at Queen’s University in Belfast and 21% at Ulster University achieved firsts in the 2015/16 academic year.

Meanwhile, 29% of St Mary’s University College graduates and 24% at Stranmillis University College (24%) were awarded firsts.

Of those graduating from The Open University in NI 2015/16, 16% were awarded the top grade.

The Province came slightly ahead of Wales (22%), and just behind England (24%), while Scotland had the highest proportion of students achieving firsts (25%).