Student Alternative record 2020/21
Student Alternative record 2020/21 - Coverage
Version 1.0 Produced 2020-07-30
The Student Alternative record is collected in line with statutory requirements in England. All HE providers in England are required to submit to either the HESA Student record, HESA Student Alternative record or the ESFA Individualised Learner Record. The HESA Student Alternative record is required of all providers registered with the OfS who do not submit the Student return or ILR. These requirements are as detailed at https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/provider-info/subscription.
All students who are included on the HESES return to Office for Students, whether fundable or not, should be returned to HESA, even if this is not normally compulsory under the coverage of the record. The HESES and HESA returns should therefore be consistent.
The HESA reporting year runs from 1 August to 31 July in the following year. The 20/21 Student Alternative record will capture student activity taking place between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021.
'Registered' for the purpose of HESA's data collection is to be interpreted as being identical to the definition of registered adopted by the Office for Students.
'Higher Education level' for the purpose of HESA's data collection is to be interpreted as being identical to the definition of Higher Education adopted by Office for Students. Broadly this will be those instances for which the level of instruction is above that of courses leading to GCE A levels, SCE Highers and Certificate of Sixth Year Studies, ONC or OND.
'Provider credit' is to be interpreted as a credit which can be carried forward and ultimately count towards the award of a qualification, for example, credit points which can be accumulated towards the award of a degree.
The emphasis of the coverage of the Student Alternative record is those students who are (or were) actively following a course at some time during the HESA reporting period, and it is from these students that the HESA standard registration population is taken.
However, some providers will be in the position of having made awards in one year to students who were not actively following a course in that year. In order to be able to record details of all awards made in the year, these awards from not active status need to be included. Providers with awards made in one year to students not active in that year should include a record for these students in that year's data collection.
The Student Alternative record is collected for all students registered at the reporting provider and studying within the United Kingdom, who are studying on courses that lead to a higher education qualification or credit. Award of the provider would include all students that receive a qualification of some sort following an assessment of performance, whether that be from the provider themselves or another awarding body. 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.
During data collection (where applicable) the Student Alternative record will be reconciled against a number of sources of information. These reports indicate either the number of or which, individual students we would expect to be returned in the Student Alternative record.
Exclusions to the coverage
- Students studying wholly outside of the UK for the duration of their programme.
- Students visiting from overseas but who remain registered with their overseas provider.
- Students expected to spend less than eight consecutive course weeks in the UK during their entire programme.
- Students who are not studying for credits or a qualification (e.g. students 'auditing' a course).
- ITT students on employment-based routes (e.g. GTP, OTT and RTP) with the exception of students on the School Direct Training Programme.
- 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.
- Students who study for less than two weeks and do not have attendance confirmed to the SLC/ SAAS.
- 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.
- Students who are studying below higher education level.
- Post Doctorate students and those awarded Higher Doctorates.
- Students registered for research qualifications awarded primarily on the basis of published works must be excluded from the Student Alternative record, unless they are undertaking a significant amount of research at the reporting provider.
For providers with limited designation or teach-out designation this additional exclusion applies:
Providers who previously held designation and who have an application to the Office for Students' register pending an outcome will be required to submit to the Student Alternative record.
Providers who are not registered with the Office for Students, with courses designated for student support by the Office for Students or Department for Education (DfE) for the purposes of teaching out existing students must continue to submit to the Student Alternative record until the designation arrangement ends.
Students studying wholly outside the UK:
Providers must not return individualised records for students studying for the whole of their course outside of the UK, or those not funded for study by distance learning overseas.
Link between coverage of the Student Alternative record and the Aggregate Offshore record
If it is known at the beginning of the course that a student will spend a block of eight weeks or more in the UK as part of their programme, then they should be included on the Student Alternative record throughout. For reporting years in which they spend no time in the UK they should be coded as 'S - Studying abroad and included in the Student Alternative record as student has spent or will spend more than 8 weeks in the UK' in InstancePeriod.LOCSDY.
If a period of time of eight weeks or more is an optional part of the programme then the student should be included in the Student Alternative record only if they come to the UK, and for the reporting year in which they come to the UK onwards. The Instance.COMDATE should reflect the start date of the instance abroad.
If a student is expected to spend less than eight consecutive course weeks in the UK during their entire programme they should be included on the Aggregate offshore record throughout.
Where students on distance learning programmes move between UK and overseas locations as a consequence of changes in personal circumstances, they will need to remain on the Student Alternative record.
In addition, there may in any year be a small number of UK-domiciled (probably research) students who, due to the nature of their research, spend their entire studies overseas. These students will need to be included in the HESA Student Alternative record. Such students should be coded T 'Abroad for the whole year'. in InstancePeriod.LOCSDY, for each year of their instance, with the appropriate full-time or part-time codes used for InstancePeriod.MODE. Given the likely small numbers of such students it is probable that this combination of coding will be accepted by means of a validation switch.
Distance learners outside the UK
There are a small number of distance learning students studying outside the UK who are funded - e.g. Crown servants overseas and the Services. For these students a full record is needed. Such students should be coded 9 'Distance Learning - Non-UK based student (funded)' in InstancePeriod.LOCSDY.
No other distance learning students studying outside the UK should be included in the Student Alternative record.
Incoming/Outgoing visiting and exchange students
Those incoming visiting and exchange students who are registered at the reporting provider must be included in the HESA Student Alternative record and flagged as incoming students in the field InstancePeriod.EXCHIND.
When InstancePeriod.NOTACT is returned, the students will be excluded from the HESA standard registration population used for analysis purposes. Once a record has been temporarily closed, continuing records for not active students are not required except in the case where awards have been made to students from not active status. Providers with awards made in a reporting period to students not active in the same reporting period should include a record for these students, returning the previous InstancePeriod with STULOAD=0.
Where a student becomes not active either part way through or for the entire reporting period (as indicated through InstancePeriod.NOTACT), with the exception of the following field the data should remain as when the student was last active: InstancePeriod.STULOAD (to reflect the period of dormancy).
In-house courses run by providers for their own employees can be included in the Student Alternative record provided that the attendee staff member is registered as a student at the reporting provider. If a course is credit-bearing the students must be included on the individualised Student Alternative record.
Courses that involve collaborative or franchising arrangements
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.
In general students should be reported by the same provider for the whole of one programme of study, exceptions to this will be rare and will only occur where provision formally transfers from one provider to another, in particular cases where there is a formal collaborative arrangement to provide doctoral research training for a student or students. This could include anything from a large Doctoral Training Partnership or Centre for Doctoral Training, to a student on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, or a co-tutelle du thèse or other joint supervision agreement for a single student.
In the majority of cases where there is concurrent supervision, at more than one provider, there will be a concept of a 'lead provider', and this provider alone should be responsible for returning the student to HESA. Where no such concept exists, a single provider should be nominated from amongst the consortia for this purpose, to prevent double counting.
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.
One of the functions of the Student Alternative record is to collect data for publication on the DiscoverUni website to aid prospective higher education students when making a decision about what and where to study. The reporting of data for inclusion in Unistats is compulsory. Providers with limited designation and on teach-out will not be required to make a Unistats submission.
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 Student Alternative record is also used to identify the National Student Survey population:
Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.