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Foreword - Higher Education Statistics 2012/13

Statistical First Release

Foreword by the Chief Executive of HESA

HESA is pleased to present the annual official statistical overview of higher education in the United Kingdom (UK) for the year 2012/13. This is the latest edition in a series that was initiated by the then Department for Education in 1993. It is a National Statistics publication.

The publication aims to present a comprehensive set of statistical information about a range of aspects of the UK higher education sector. It is unique in providing the basic figures not only about the students of higher education institutions, but also about applicants, staffing, finance, student support, and other aspects of higher education provision. The publication also includes summary statistics about study at higher education level in further education colleges, and it therefore presents figures illustrating the totality of higher education provision in publicly-funded institutions in the UK. Additionally, figures for The University of Buckingham, a non-publicly-funded institution voluntarily providing data to HESA, are included.

Sources of data

The information in this publication is derived from a wide range of sources as listed below. More detailed descriptions of these sources are given in the Definitions.

The majority of the data come from the various data streams collected annually by HESA:

  • Details of student enrolments (shown in Tables 1-9) are taken from the HESA Student Record which is an annual census of all students on higher education courses (postgraduate and undergraduate) in HE sector institutions. Similar data for HE students enrolled at FE sector colleges (shown in Table 1) are taken from individual student data collected by the Skills Funding Agency (covering English FECs), the Scottish Funding Council, the Department for Education and Skills (Wales) and the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland.

  • The Student Record also records the numbers of students who successfully complete their courses (shown in Table 10).

  • Tables 11a and 11b report on students studying wholly overseas, but registered with, or studying for an award from a UK higher education institution. These are also collected on an annual basis.

  • Information on the destinations of newly qualified HE students (Tables 12a, 12b, 12c, 13) is taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) annual survey, which records the employment/study situation of graduates six months after graduation.

  • The annual HESA Staff Record provides details of academic and non-academic staff employed in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) (Tables 17 and 18).

  • The annual HESA Finance Record provides details of the income and expenditure of HEIs (Tables 19 & 20).

Other sources used are:

  • The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), who collect information annually on applicants and accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses (shown in Tables 14 to 16b). The UCAS figures do not cover part-time undergraduate courses or postgraduate courses. Although UCAS process applications for PGCEs, they are not included in the standard datasets released via their website, from which the figures in the tables are taken.

  • The Student Loans Company, who collect annual information on students taking out loans and the amounts borrowed (Tables 21a to 21i).

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which compiles annual data on international comparisons of HE participation and graduation rates (Table 22).

  • The Office for National Statistics compiles data for ‘the Labour Force Survey’ on a quarterly basis covering the whole of the UK (Tables 23a and 23b).

The publication draws, to a certain extent, on material which is further analysed or elaborated upon in other HESA publications, for a full list of HESA's publication please click here.

The Agency appreciates the collaboration of all the bodies that have made data available for the publication, and in particular that of our colleagues in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Welsh Government, Scottish Government and the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland) with whom we have worked closely in preparing it, in accordance with the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

  • Alison Allden
  • Chief Executive

© Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2014

National Statistic


14 August 2014, 9:30




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