Tony Tysome and Harriet Swain go in search of the Midlands, a region that is busy bridging an east-west divide, increasing participation rates and developing links
* 255,609 students enrolled at Midlands institutions in 1996-97; 69 per cent were full-time or sandwich, 25 per cent were postgraduates.
* 51 per cent of students were female
* Of the UK students whose ethnicity was known, 13 per cent were from ethnic minorities; 4 per cent reported a disability
* 62 per cent of respondents to HESA's First Destinations survey at Midlands institutions found jobs in 1995-96
* There were 14,995 full-time members of academic staff at Midlands institutions in 1995-96; 38 per cent were under 36
* There are 97 further education colleges in the region: 39 in East Midlands, 58 in West Midlands
* In 1995-96, there were 154,000 full-time, full-year students and 679,000 part-time and part-year students in FE colleges in the Midlands
Note: Definitions of the Midlands vary. The source of these statistics is HESA, which excludes the Open University and Cranfield from the Midlands, but includes Bishop Grossteste College. The FEFC definition excludes Buckinghamshire.