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Alternative provider student record 2014/15

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Version 1.1 Produced 2014-09-24

General definition

In general, the AP student record is collected to support two functions. The primary function of the record is to support course designation and the data returned must include all students on designated courses for those providers completing a Higher Education in Alternative Providers Early Statistics (HEAPES) survey, regardless of course, mode and level, excluding postgraduate courses only designated for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). In practice this will require providers to send data for all full-time and part-time undergraduate designated courses. First year and continuing students domiciled in the UK, EU and other overseas countries on these courses must be reported.

The second function of the AP student record is to collect data for publication on UNISTATS to aid prospective higher education students in making a decision about what and where to study. The reporting of the elements of the AP student record purely for UNISTATS is optional to providers.

Providers must declare whether they are submitting data for the purposes of course designation, publication on UNISTATS, or both, through the SUBPURPOSE field in the AP student record. This will determine which data items are required to be completed. Details of the data items required for the two aspects of the return can be found in the Data Items document.

All HESA records are collected on the basis of the HESA reporting period that determines the time period that the data being returned relates to. This ensures consistency across the data collected. The reporting period is from 01 August year 1 to 31 July year 2, for example, the 2014/2015 AP student record is collected in respect of the activity taking place between 01 August 2014 and 31 July 2015.

The data is then submitted to HESA after the reporting period has ended. Full details of the timescales for submission can be found in the data collection schedule document, which will be published at a later date.

For providers that recruit students through UCAS the UCAS Data for HESA (*J) transaction is issued to providers in November each year and contains student information relevant to both the UCAS application process and the HESA AP student record.

Course Designation

The AP student record is collected by HESA on behalf of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). Alternative providers whose activities are carried on, or principally carried on, in England and who have designated courses and are completing a Higher Education in Alternative Providers Early Statistics (HEAPES) survey are required to submit the 'Course Designation' element of the AP student record to HESA.

This information is necessary to assist BIS with the performance of its functions relating to higher education, including the provision of student support, and to facilitate compliance with the Department's Public Sector Equality Duty.

The AP student record will be collected in respect of all students registered in the reporting institution who follow full-time and part-time undergraduate courses designated for student support purposes irrespective of whether the student is in receipt of SLC funding. All students who are included on the HEAPES return to HEFCE should be returned to HESA, even if the teaching is undertaken by a franchise partner in whole or in part. During data collection the AP student record will be reconciled against the HEAPES data reported to HEFCE.

Those Alternative providers offering designated courses but who are not required to submit a HEAPES survey may on an optional basis submit data about students on designated courses to HESA for the AP student record. This will enable more informed policy decisions to be taken in relation to higher education provision regulation and finance.

The key requirements of a designated course can be found in the Alternative Provider Specific Course Designation: Guidance for Providers document published by BIS in June 2013.

Students who leave shortly after registering

A record is required to be returned for all students that have applied for a loan with the SLC where the attendance has been confirmed to SLC (on the basis of the submission of the Attendance Confirmation Report (ACR)) on any SLC attendance confirmation date (defined by the SLC as the first day of term for the course), even if the student started and left the course within the first two weeks.

For other students, institutions need not return records for students who start a course and leave within the first two weeks without completing. Students who start a course and do not leave within the first two weeks will need a record returned. It should be noted that any records returned for students who start a course and leave within the first two weeks without completing will be excluded from any progression analyses by BIS, HEFCE or HESA.

Exclusions to the coverage for course designation

  1. Students studying wholly outside of the UK for the duration of their programme
  2. Students expected to spend less than eight consecutive course weeks in the UK during their entire programme
  3. Students studying on postgraduate courses that are designated for DSA only


Alternative providers, whether they have designated courses or not, may choose to submit course and student data to HESA in order for the data to be published on UNISTATS.

Those providers completing the UNISTATS element of the AP student record must return students on all undergraduate courses (with the exceptions outlined below). Undergraduate courses are those with a COURSEAIM beginning H, I, J and C (excluding courses with COURSEAIM H61 and H81 as these are graduate entry programmes) Additionally, courses with a COURSEAIM of M22, M26 and M28 (integrated masters courses) should be included.

Exclusions to the coverage for UNISTATS

  1. All postgraduate courses, including graduate entry programmes, with the exception of COURSEAIMs of M22, M26 and M28.
  2. Courses where the total FTE of the course is one year or less when studied full-time (i.e. 120 credits or less for its entirety).
  3. Courses where the total FTE of the course is equal to one year that has more than 120 credits.
  4. Courses offered mainly overseas with a location of study mainly overseas. A course is considered to be offered mainly overseas if, for all students, the majority (over 50%) of their study is overseas. Sandwich courses and courses incorporating a language year abroad will not typically meet this definition, as the time spent abroad will not be the majority of the course.
  5. Intercalated degrees.
  6. A course that is run in the UK but only for international and/or EU students.

Providers submitting the UNISTATS element of the AP student record will additionally need to complete the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) and Key Information Set (KIS) records. Details of these returns can be found on the HESA website. In addition these providers will be included in the National Student Survey (NSS).

The AP student record is intrinsic to both the DLHE and KIS returns and is also used to identify the National Student Survey population:

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