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Introduction to HE finance data

Who is HESA?

HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) is the expert organisation in UK higher education data and analysis. We have been collecting, processing, and publishing data about higher education (HE) in the UK since the 1994/95 academic year.

As the trusted source of HE data and analysis, HESA plays a key role in supporting and enhancing the competitive strength of the sector.

About HESA

What finance data do we collect?

We collect finance data from universities, colleges, and other HE providers in the UK covering income, expenditure, balance sheet, statement of gains and losses, capital expenditure, senior staff pay and Key Financial Indicators.  

For more information on the coverage of the data, and the data items we collect please see:

Definitions for the HESA Finance record

How do we collect finance data?

HE providers submit data in the winter following the end of each academic year in templates provided by HESA. We quality assure and process the data, including comparisson against HE providers' published accounts, and publish it in the following March.

We have developed detailed specifications for the data we expect providers to return to us. All the data goes through several stages of validation and checking, with most HE providers submitting their data multiple times to pass these checks. The full data specification can be found via our data collection pages:

Finance record 2017/18

What data do we publish?

Nearly all of the HESA Finance record is published in HE Provider Data: Finance. The exception is some items of personal data and commentary on the pay of senior staff which is collected on behalf of the funding and regulatory bodies for higher education. 

Data is published in tables for each item showing one HE provider per row allowing users to compare providers with each other and see totals for each England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK. 

From which organisations do we collect data on finances?

We collect finance data from all publicly funded HE institutions in the UK (plus the privately funded University of Buckingham) via the HESA Finance record.

We don't currently collect finance information from other Alternative Providers.

What historical data on HE finance is available?

Open data icon

From March 2019 onwards, we have published current data in the form of interactive tables embedded in the website. 

Before 2019, we published much of our data as Excel spreadsheets. The full HESA Finance record was published in HE Finance Plus, with key data published as smaller tables in Finance of Higher Education Providers. All back issues of both publications are now free to download under a Creative Commons licence, as part of our Open Data roadmap.

View the publication archive 

What further guidance is available for interpreting our data?

For further guidance on interpreting our data:

  • The definitions to accompany our finance information offers definitions for all the key fields that appear in our tables
  • Our data intelligence section provides notes submitted by HE providers to comment on anomalies in their data.

What further data is available?

If you cannot find the information you want in our published tables, contact our Custom data enquiry service, which can provide you with data extracts to suit your needs, on +44 (0) 1242 211133, or via the email button below:

Custom data timescales, costs, and FAQs

Submit a custom data request