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Alternative provider student record 2017/18

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Alternative provider student record 2017/18 - Coverage

Version 1.1 Produced 2017-03-01

General definition

The Alternative provider (AP) student record is collected for all students registered at the reporting provider who are studying designated and non-designated courses leading to a higher education qualification or credit. The 17/18 record will be the first time that:

  • All providers return students studying undergraduate non-designated courses lasting less than one year
  • All providers are required to return postgraduates on both taught and research courses.

The HESA reporting year runs from 1 August to 31 July in the following year. The 17/18 AP student record will capture student activity taking place between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.

The AP student record is collected to support two functions.

Course designation

The primary function of the record is to support course designation, which is decided by the Department for Education (DfE), and supported by the Office for Students. Office for Students use the data from the AP student record to support their analysis of providers. The DfE uses Office for students’ analysis to decide whether or not an alternative provider’s course should be designated. The key requirements of a designated course can be found in the Alternative Provider Specific Course Designation: Guidance for Providers document published by the DfE.

The AP student record is also required (i) by DfE 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 Office for Students 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. 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 can be different to students on designated courses. Where there are differences, this is stated in the coverage statement for the data item in the AP student record.

Providers will also have to submit additional data for the Unistats publication. HESA collects this data through the Unistats and Graduate Outcomes records. Details of these returns can be found on the HESA website.

The AP student record is also used to identify the National Student Survey population:


The AP student record is collected for all students registered at the reporting provider and studying within the United Kingdom, who are studying towards designated and non-designated courses that lead to higher education qualification or credit. There are a few exceptions to the coverage and these are outlined under “Exclusions to the coverage” below.

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. If however the student is ‘franchised’ but they are included on the Higher Education at Alternative Providers Early Statistics survey (HEAPES) return to Office for Students, they should also be returned to HESA.

During data collection (where applicable) the AP student record will be reconciled against a number of sources of information, including HEAPES data reported to Office for Students and SLC Records. These reports indicate either the number of or which, individual students we would expect to be returned in the AP student record.

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 Office for Students if they require further information about whether they have students at connected undertakings.

There are a small number of distance learning students studying outside the UK who are funded - e.g. Crown servants overseas and the Services. These students need to be returned in the AP Student Record. No other distance learning students studying outside the UK should be included in the AP Student record.

Exclusions to the coverage

  1. Students studying wholly outside of the UK for the duration of their programme.
  2. Students visiting from overseas but who remain registered with their overseas provider.
  3. 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.
  4. Students who are not studying for credits or a qualification (e.g. students 'auditing' a course).
  5. 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).
  6. Students on employment-based routes (e.g. GTP, OTT and RTP) with the exception of student on the School Direct Training Programme.
  7. Students who are not registered with the provider. This exclusion includes students who are taught by the returning provider through a franchise/subcontractual arrangements, but who are registered with another provider.
  8. Students on non-designated courses that are run in the UK but only for international and/or EU students.
  9. Students who study for less than two weeks and do not have attendance confirmed to the SLC/ SAAS.
  10. Students who aren't active during the reporting period. These students are only required when it is necessary to report a change in their status - for instance, because they become active, or end their instance.
  11. Students who are studying below higher education level should not be returned.

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 and 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). This includes 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. 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 DfE, Office for Students or HESA.

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