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Alternative provider student record 2015/16

Back to C15054


Version 1.2 Produced 2016-03-03

General definition

In general, the Alternative provider (AP) student record is collected in respect of all students registered at the reporting provider who are studying on undergraduate courses, with a small number of exceptions.

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 2015/16 AP student record is collected in respect of the activity taking place between 01 August 2015 and 31 July 2016.

The AP student record is collected to support two functions.

Course designation

The primary function of the record is to support course designation and the data returned must include all students on designated courses, regardless of course, mode and level, excluding postgraduate courses only designated for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

The AP student record is collected by HESA on behalf of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE). Alternative providers with courses designated by BIS are required to submit the AP student record to HESA.

This information is required (i) by BIS to assist 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, and (ii) by HEFCE to fulfil its duties under section 79(c) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and the Education (Prescribed Courses of Education) (Information Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/225.


The second function of the AP student record is to collect data for publication on the Unistats website to aid prospective higher education students in making a decision about what and where to study. From 2015/16, the reporting of data for inclusion in Unistats is compulsory.

Providers must submit data for students on designated and non-designated courses in order for the data to be published on the Unistats website. The data requirements for students on non-designated courses are different to those of students on designated courses and this is explicit in the coverage statement of each data item.

To fulfil the requirement to return data for publication on Unistats providers 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:


The AP student record is collected in respect of all students registered at the reporting provider and studying within the United Kingdom, who follow full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate ITT 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 (where applicable) the AP student record will be reconciled against the HEAPES data reported to HEFCE, and also against records held by the SLC.

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

Additionally, all students registered at the provider and studying on a non-designated undergraduate course in the UK must be included in the return. There are a few exceptions to the coverage and these are outlined later in this document.

A student is registered at a provider only if the provider has full contractual responsibility to the student for the provision of educational services and when any fee payments from the Student Loans Company are made directly to the provider. Students who are ‘franchised’ in to the provider are not registered with the provider and therefore should not be included in the provider’s return.

Students studying at connected undertakings of the provider are also within coverage of the record. A ‘connected undertaking’ is an undertaking which is controlled (wholly or partly, and directly or indirectly) by the provider. Providers should seek advice from HEFCE if they require further information about whether they have students at connected undertakings.

Exclusions to the coverage

  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. Note that students on non-designated courses are only required to be returned where the majority of time (50% or more) of their study will be in the UK.
  3. All postgraduate courses, including those designated for DSA only and graduate entry programmes (including stand-alone Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) part 2), with the exception of COURSEAIMs of M22, M26, M28 and M71. These four COURSEAIMs cover integrated postgraduate/undergraduate provision, as well as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education or the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education, which are initial teacher training qualifications within the remit of the AP student collection.
  4. Non-designated courses that are not open to any suitably qualified candidate and will typically be courses offered only to employees of particular organisations (closed courses).
  5. Non-designated intercalated degrees.
  6. Students on non-designated courses that are run in the UK but only for international and/or EU students.
  7. Students on non-designated courses where the total FTE of the course is less than one year when studied full-time (i.e. 120 credits or less for its entirety).

Students who leave shortly after registering

A record is required to be returned for all students active during the reporting period 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, providers 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.

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