Skip to main content

Definitions - Students 2015/16

Student record

Student coverage

In general, the HESA Student record is collected in respect of all students registered at a reporting higher education (HE) provider who follow courses that lead to the award of a qualification(s) or HE provider credit, excluding those registered as studying wholly overseas. The data specification of the record uses the term 'instance' to describe a student's engagement with the HE provider, which, because a student can have more than one instance of engagement, will exceed the number of students. Unless stated otherwise, student data is based on an instance of engagement. Postdoctoral students are not included in the HESA Student record.

Courses involving collaborative or franchising arrangements are administration specific:

In England and Northern Ireland all students included on the Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey (HESES) return to the Office for Students (previously HEFCE), whether fundable or not, are returned to HESA. This includes all students funded through franchised, associate and regional college arrangements. Students funded through an Office for Students (previously HEFCE) recognised funding consortium or students registered at another HE provider, although included in the HESES return of the lead HE provider, are not included within the HESA return of that HE provider. These students are included in the HESA (or the Data Service) return of the registering provider.

In Wales students included on the HESES return to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), whether fundable or not, are returned to HESA regardless of where the student is registered. This includes all students funded through franchise arrangements where the provision is franchised out from the HE provider. Students who are franchised in to the HE provider are excluded. The term franchise, also referred to as outreach, in HE in Wales refers to a HE course taught at a provider (the franchisee) which is not directly in receipt of funding from HEFCW for that course, and for which quality assurance is provided by another Welsh HE provider (the franchisor). Students taught at HE provider in Wales may be registered at the franchisee or franchisor provider. However, students registered at providers outside Wales, with a Welsh He provider providing quality assurance, are not included within the definition of franchised students.

In Scotland students taking articulated or franchised courses at further education (FE) colleges, or other courses at other HE provider or FE colleges, for the years of such courses for which the HE provider does not provide any of the teaching input, does not receive any funding or does not receive any tuition fee payment (e.g. from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland) are excluded from the HE provider's return to HESA. In the case of those years of a course for which two or more HE providers are involved in providing the teaching input and/or receiving funding or tuition fees, only one of the HE providers includes the students in its returns to HESA. It is up to the providers concerned to agree between themselves who should be responsible for making the returns to HESA, and for which years of the course (or for which students on a particular year of the course), as seems most appropriate given their administrative arrangements.

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 are included on the Student record throughout, and not included in the Aggregate offshore record. For the reporting years in which their location of study is identified as being abroad, the student instance, whilst being collected in the year's Student return, is however excluded from the standard HESA student populations and hence from the standard publication figures.    

The reporting period for the HESA Student record is 1 August to 31 July.

Higher education students for the purpose of HESA's data collection are those students on courses for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), or the former Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (e.g. courses at the level of Certificate of HE and above).

N.B. From 2012/13 the HESA constituency includes all UK publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs) and a number of alternative providers (APs), collectively referred to as higher education providers (HEPs). The providers included within the standard populations, as in previous years, contains information regarding only the HEI element of this constituency and the University of Buckingham but now uses the term ‘higher education providers (HEPs)’.

From 2016/17, FECs in Wales with HE provision directly funded by HEFCW must submit that data in the HESA Student record. In the first year of returning the Student record to HESA, records are required for all students identified as continuing into 2016/17.

 

Rounding and suppression strategy

For data protection reasons we implement a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest multiple of 5 and suppressing percentages and averages based on small populations.

HESA Services Standard Rounding Methodology:

  1. All numbers are rounded to the nearest multiple of 5
  2. Any number lower than 2.5 is rounded to 0
  3. Halves are always rounded upwards (e.g. 2.5 is rounded to 5)
  4. Percentages based on fewer than 22.5 individuals are suppressed
  5. Averages based on 7 or fewer individuals are suppressed
  6. The above requirements apply to headcounts, FPE and FTE data
  7. Financial data is not rounded

Total figures are also subject to this rounding methodology after calculation; so the sum of numbers in each row or column may not match the total shown. Suppressed values are normally represented as '..' in published tables.

For more information on the rounding methodology, including worked examples and instructions on how to apply rounding, please see Rounding and suppression to anonymise statistics.

Standard registration population

The HESA standard registration population has been derived from the HESA Student record, from all registered higher education and further education student instances active at a reporting HE provider in the reporting period 1 August to 31 July, following courses that lead to the award of a qualification or HE provider credit, and ensures that similar activity is counted in a similar way irrespective of when it occurs.

The population splits the student experience into years of study. The first year is deemed to start on the commencement date of the student instance, with second and subsequent years starting on, or near, the anniversary of that date. Student instances are counted once for each year of study. However students who leave within two weeks of their instance start date, or anniversary of their start date, and are on a course of more than two weeks duration, are not included in the standard registration population.

Also excluded from this population are:

  • dormant students (those who have suspended study but have not formally de-registered)
  • incoming visiting and exchange students
  • postdoctoral student instances
  • instances where the whole of the programme of study is outside of the UK
  • instances where the student has spent, or will spend, more than 8 weeks in the UK but the study programme is primarily outside the UK
  • DfE/Teaching Regulation Agency (formerly NCTL) Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) student instances
  • students on sabbatical, and
  • writing-up students.

Please note, the following students are included as standard in HESA populations:

  • Students registered at, but not taught by the reporting HE provider- this is usually through a collaborative/franchising agreement. It may be for the whole or a proportion of the academic year.
  • Students based in the UK on distance learning programmes.
  • Student based outside of the UK on funded distance learning programmes e.g Crown servants overseas and the Services
  • On industrial placement for the whole or a proportion of the academic year.
  • On study year abroad for the whole or a proportion of the academic year.
  • Apprenticeship Standards students studying towards a Higher Education component.

The HESA standard registration population forms the basis for most counts of first year and continuing student instances.

If you require, we are able to remove any of these students from bespoke data requests. Please be aware that any alterations to standard HESA populations will mean that data will not align with HESA data published elsewhere.

Higher education provider identifiers

Higher education provider identifier (INSTID) is the unique identifier allocated to providers by HESA.

UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN) is the unique identifier allocated to providers by the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP).

For a list of the HE provider mergers and changes from the 1994/95 academic year onwards, please click here.

Qualifications obtained population

The HESA qualifications obtained population is a count of student instances associated with the award of a higher education qualification (excluding higher education provider credits) during the HESA reporting period. This includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status.

Incoming visiting and exchange students are excluded from this population.

Full-time equivalent and the HESA session population

Full-time equivalent (FTE) data represents the HE provider's assessment of the full-time equivalence of the student instance during the reporting period 1 August to 31 July.

The HESA session population forms the basis for counts of full-time equivalent (FTE) student instances. It includes all registered higher education and further education student instances active at a reporting HE provider at any point in the reporting period 1 August to 31 July, following courses that lead to the award of a qualification or HE provider credit, except:

  • dormant student instances (those who have suspended study but have not formally de-registered)
  • incoming visiting and exchange student instances
  • postdoctoral student instances
  • instances where the whole of the programme of study is outside of the UK
  • instances where the student has spent, or will spend, more than 8 weeks in the UK but the study programme is primarily outside the UK
  • DfE/Teaching Regulation Agency (formerly NCTL) Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) student instances, and
  • students on sabbatical.

Incoming visiting and exchange students are excluded from the session population in order to avoid an element of double-counting with both outgoing and incoming students being included.    

For the difference between full-person equivalent (FPE) and full-time equivalent (FTE) please click here.

Mode of study / qualification obtained

Mode of study 

Applicable to HESA populations except the qualifications obtained population

  • Full-time includes students recorded as studying full-time, normally required to attend a HE provider for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year of study, plus those enrolled on a sandwich course (thick or thin), irrespective of whether or not they are in attendance at the HE provider or engaged in industrial training, and those on a study-related year out of their HE provider. During that time students are normally expected to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week for a minimum of 24 weeks study/placement.

In certain analyses, full-time and sandwich modes of study may be shown separately, defined as follows:

  • Full-time includes students who are normally required to attend an provider for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year of study.
  • Sandwich includes students enrolled on a sandwich course (thick or thin), irrespective of whether they are in attendance at the HE provider or engaged in industrial training. During that time students are normally expected to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week for a minimum of 24 weeks study/placement.
  • Part-time includes students recorded as studying part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings only.

Where analysis includes FE level students, part-time includes those recorded as studying part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings only, plus those students on FE continuous delivery.

  • Writing-up and sabbatical includes students who are normally expected to submit a thesis to the HE provider for examination, have completed the work of their course and are not making significant demands on HE providers resources, plus those on sabbatical.

Writing-up students and students on sabbatical are excluded from the HESA standard registration population.

Applicable to HESA qualifications obtained population

  • Full-time includes students whose study was recorded as full-time (as described as above), and also includes awards from dormant and writing-up status where the student's mode of study was previously full-time.
  • Part-time students are those whose study was recorded as part-time (as described above), and also includes awards from dormant and writing-up status where the student's mode of study was previously part-time, and awards given to those on sabbatical.
Level of study / qualification obtained

Level of study

Level of study is taken from the course aim of the student.

HESA classifies courses according to a framework which aligns with the framework for HE qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) (of which the framework for qualifications of HE providers in Scotland is a constituent part) and the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and Bologna frameworks. Details are available within the field specification. It includes level M for taught masters degrees, and level H for honours degrees.

For a full mapping of course aim codes to our level of study fields, please download the following spreadsheet: Courseaim_level_mapping.xlsx This can be changed on a bespoke basis to best suit your needs.

Note: Many students who study for a doctorate qualification will initially be enrolled on a masters course and will transfer to a doctorate course after a year or two. For this reason, numbers of doctorate students may be under-counted and numbers of masters students may be over-counted where these groupings are used.

  • Postgraduate courses are those leading to higher degrees, diplomas and certificates (including Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE at level M) (unless shown separately) and professional qualifications) which usually require a first degree as an entry qualification (i.e. already qualified at level H).
  • Higher degree (research) includes doctorate (incorporating New Route PhD) and masters degrees studied primarily through research.
  • Higher degree (taught) includes doctorate and masters degrees not studied primarily through research, and postgraduate bachelors degrees at level M. Masters in Teaching and Learning are included in this category.
  • Other postgraduate includes postgraduate diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE at level M), level 7 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector, HE provideer postgraduate credits and non-formal postgraduate qualifications.

In analyses where postgraduate level of study is disaggregated into postgraduate (research) and postgraduate (taught), the following groupings are used:

  • Postgraduate (research) includes doctorate (incorporating New Route PhD), masters degrees and postgraduate diplomas or certificates (not Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at level M) studied primarily through research.
  • Postgraduate (taught) includes doctorate, and masters degrees, postgraduate bachelors degrees at level M and postgraduate diplomas or certificates not studied primarily through research, including Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at level M (unless shown separately), Masters in Teaching and Learning, level M Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector, and professional qualifications.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education are those PGCE qualifications which are pitched at level M.
  • Undergraduate courses are programmes of study at level H, I, J and C including, but not limited to, first degrees (including eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body), first degrees with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC), postgraduate bachelors degrees at level H, enhanced first degrees (including those leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body), first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees, Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE at level H), foundation degrees, diplomas in higher education (including those leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body), Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at higher education level, National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level (including those in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector), professional qualifications at undergraduate level and other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including pre- and post-registration health and social care and veterinary courses. Entrants to these programmes of study do not usually require a higher education qualification.
  • First degree includes first degrees (including eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body), first degrees with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC), postgraduate bachelors degree at level H, enhanced first degrees (including those leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body), first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees.
  • Other undergraduate includes qualification aims equivalent to and below first degree level, including, but not limited to, Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at level H (unless shown separately), foundation degrees (unless shown separately), diplomas in higher education (including those with eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body), Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at higher education level, National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)/Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at NQF levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level (including those in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector), professional qualifications at undergraduate level, other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including pre- and post-registration health and social care and veterinary courses, other formal higher education qualifications of less than degree standard, provider undergraduate credit and non-formal undergraduate qualifications.
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education are those PGCE qualifications which are pitched at level H.
  • Foundation degrees (e.g. FdA, FdSc) were introduced to provide vocational higher education qualifications at level I.
  • Further education programmes of study includes Diplomas, Certificates and National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)/Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at level 3 and below, A/AS levels, Advanced Highers/Highers (Scotland), GCSEs, Intermediates (Scotland), HE Access courses, Welsh for Adults and other qualifications below higher education level.

Qualification obtained

Qualification obtained is taken from the qualification awarded to the student during the reporting year, usually at the end of an instance. The qualification awarded may be different to the student's qualification aim, and the student may be awarded more than one qualification during the reporting period.

Qualification obtained is based on the HESA qualifications obtained population and therefore also includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status.

The groupings are as Level of study, except in certain analyses where the following groupings may be used:

  • Doctorate includes doctorate degrees obtained/not obtained primarily through research and New Route PhD.
  • Other higher degree includes masters degrees obtained/not obtained primarily through research, Masters in Teaching and Learning, pre-registration masters degrees leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body and postgraduate bachelors degrees at level M.
  • Other postgraduate qualifications includes supervised research at level D, E and L for provider credits, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) at level M and E, other postgraduate qualifications obtained primarily through research, fellowships, diplomas and certificates at level M, Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) 5, professional taught qualifications at level M other than masters degrees, Level M Diplomas in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector, and other taught qualifications at level M.
  • HND/DipHE includes Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE) (including those leading towards obtaining eligibility to register to practice with a health or social care or veterinary statutory regulatory body) and Higher National Diplomas (HND).
Class of first degree

The classification of a first degree indicates the qualification class obtained. Certain qualifications obtained at first degree level are not subject to classification of award, notably medical and general degrees. These, together with ordinary degrees and aegrotat qualifications have been included within Unclassified. Third class honours, fourth class honours and pass have been aggregated as Third/pass. Lower second and undivided second class honours have been aggregated as Lower second.

Initial teacher training (ITT)

Information about ITT students is presented as a count of instances.

ITT students are based on the 'Standard registration population' and includes instances that are: initial or pre-service teacher training courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status or registration as a school teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland; other initial teacher training courses not leading to Qualified Teacher Status nor to registration as a school teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland; Department for Education [National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) till 2016/17] funded flexible provision (ITT) [not funded from 2016/17], the School Direct initiative [included but not identifiable in the ITT marker from 2016/17], school-led HEP provision, and those studying towards Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS).

ITT qualifiers includes qualifications obtained from the categories of ITT instances listed above, and as it is based on the 'Qualifications obtained population' includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status.

Year of study/ first year marker

First years includes those students who commenced their programme instance within the reporting period and is based on the HESA standard registration population. In some cases the student's first year of study may be the second or subsequent year of a programme.

All years includes all student instances regardless of their commencement date and is based on the HESA standard registration population.

Domicile

Domicile data is supplied to HESA in the form of postcodes (UK, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man domiciled students) or country codes. Postcodes are mapped to counties, unitary authorities and UK nations using the Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory (ONSPD). Countries are mapped to geographical regions, informed by the National Statistics Country Classification grouping of countries, further details can be found here.

  • United Kingdom domiciled students are those whose normal residence prior to commencing their programme of study was in the UK, and for the purposes of analysis include Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU. Guernsey and Jersey in this context refer to the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, which includes their smaller islands.
  • Northern Ireland In 2015 the existing local government districts for Northern Ireland were replaced with a smaller number. The eleven local government districts which resulted from this reform are not directly comparable to those which previously existed.
  • Other European Union domiciled students are those whose normal residence prior to commencing their programme of study was in countries which were European Union (EU) members as at 1 December of the reporting period. EU countries are those which were EU members as at 1 December 2007. This includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Croatia is additionally included in this category from 2013/14 onwards, having acceded to the EU on 1 July 2013.
  • Where European Union countries are shown separately, individual country figures exclude those domiciled in the Åland Islands, the Canary Islands, and the French overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion. These figures are included in European Union not otherwise specified.
  • Other EEA countries includes the European Economic Area countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
  • Other Europe includes Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus (Non-European-Union), Faroe Islands, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican City and Europe not otherwise specified. Croatia was included in this category prior to 2013/14, from which point it was included as ‘Other European Union’ following accession to the EU.
  • Non-European-Union students are those whose normal residence prior to commencing their programme of study was outside the EU. Where Non-EU countries are shown separately, individual country figures exclude the country's overseas territories. These individual country figures are listed within the geographic region in which they lie.
  • Not known  Prior to 2014/15, domicile could be inferred using fee eligibility as a proxy where no further information was available. From 2014/15 this proxy can no longer be used, as non-UK domiciled students may be eligible to pay 'home fees'. Where no domicile information is known, students will now derive to 'not known'.
Age of student

Student age is as at 31 August in the reporting period.

For the qualifications obtained population age is at 31 July in the reporting period (the end of the academic year).

Age on entry is as at the date of a student's initial commencement of studies for this student instance.

Young / mature marker

This marker distinguishes between those who are classed as young or mature students based upon their age on entry and level of study. The criteria for this marker is as follows:

  • Undergraduates are classed as young if they are under 21 years of age on entry, and mature if they are 21 or over.
  • Postgraduates are classed as young if they are under 25 years of age on entry, and mature if they are 25 or over.
Sex / Gender

This field records the sex of the student, as opposed to the gender with which they identify.

Other is included for students whose sex aligns with terms such as intersex, androgyne, intergender, ambigender, gender fluid, polygender and gender queer.

Prior to 2012/13, the concept of biological sex was collected under the description of ‘gender’, which is a term more closely associated with identity. For this reason, HESA moved to using the term sex for this concept, and commenced collecting gender identity as a different field.

The concept of ‘Other’ in the predecessor field was collected as ‘Indeterminate’.

Indeterminate means unable to be classified as either male or female, and is intended to identify students who are intersex, and not trans-gender nor as a proxy for not known.

The specification of this field is based on the Recommendations on monitoring from ECU (Equality Challenge Unit). HESA does not, however, include a 'prefer not to say' option.

Highest qualification on entry

It should be noted that a student's highest qualification on entry is not necessarily that which was required for entry to the programme of study. Categories used are:

  • Postgraduate (excluding PGCE) includes all higher degrees (UK and non-UK doctorate and masters degrees and other qualifications at level D), postgraduate diplomas and certificates (excluding Postgraduate and Professional Graduate Certificates in Education (PGCE at levels M and H)) and postgraduate equivalent qualifications (other taught qualifications and taught work for provider credits at level M).
  • PGCE includes Postgraduate and Professional Graduate Certificates in Education (PGCE at levels M and H), with and without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC).
  • First degree includes UK and non-UK first degrees, with or without honours, first degrees with honours and undergraduate qualifications with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC) and integrated undergraduate/postgraduate taught masters degree on the enhanced/extended pattern.
  • Other undergraduate qualification includes other graduate qualifications of non-UK providers, General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ)/General Scottish Vocational Qualification (GSVQ) level 4 and 5, National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)/Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 4 and 5, Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE), Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificates in Education (CertEd) or Diplomas in Education (DipEd) (i.e. non-graduate initial teacher training qualification), Higher National Diplomas (HND) or Higher National Certificates (HNC) (including BTEC and SQA equivalents), foundation degrees, foundation courses at level J, graduate equivalent qualifications not elsewhere specified, other qualifications at levels H and J (i.e. other HE qualification of less than degree standard), Higher Apprenticeships level 4, other qualification at level C and undergraduate credits.
  • Other qualification includes Open University credits, other credits from a UK providers, professional qualifications, Advanced Modern Apprenticeships and other UK and non-UK qualifications (level not known).
  • Level 3 qualification (including A levels and Highers) includes any combinations of GCE A/AS levels, SQA Higher/SQA Advanced Higher, General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ)/General Scottish Vocational Qualification (GSVQ) level 3, National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)/Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 3, Ordinary National Certificate (ONC), Ordinary National Diploma (OND) (BTEC and SQA equivalents), A level equivalent qualifications not elsewhere specified, foundation courses at FE level, HE access courses (Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised/not QAA recognised), Baccalaureates (AQA, Scottish, Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma level 3 and International Baccalaureates (IB) diplomas/certificates), Diplomas in Foundation Studies (Art and Design), 14-19 Advanced Diplomas level 3, Diplomas, Certificates and Awards at level 3, Cambridge Pre-U Diplomas and Certificates and other level 3 qualifications.
  • Qualifications at level 2 and below includes GCSE/O level qualifications/SQA O grades and Standard grades, other non-advanced qualifications, National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)/Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level 2, 14-19 Higher Diplomas level 2 and level 1, Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diplomas level 2, other qualifications at level 2, Welsh Baccalaureate Foundation Diplomas level 1 and other qualifications at level 1.
  • No formal qualification includes Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL/APL), mature students admitted on basis of previous experience and or provider's own admissions test, or it is known that the student has no formal qualification. 
  • Not known is reserved for instances where nothing is known about the student's qualifications on entry to their programme of study.
Ethnicity

Students domiciled in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are required to report their ethnic origin. However, HESA advises that the figures reported in analyses may not be representative of the total student population because ethnic origin information is only required from this subset. This subset also excludes certain FE, incoming, visiting and exchange, and dormant students.

It is HESA's practice to adopt national classifications where they exist and are appropriate. The use of Census aligned ethnicity coding in the Student record is an example of this. The coding frame is recommended by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for UK-wide data collection. However, there are variations to the Census ethnicity coding adopted in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The ethnic category groupings are:

Census 2011 (used from 2012/13)

  • White includes White, White - Scottish, Irish Traveller, Gypsy or Traveller, plus Other White background.
  • Black includes Black or Black British - Caribbean, Black or Black British - African, and other Black background.
  • Asian includes Asian or Asian British - Indian, Asian or Asian British - Pakistani, Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi, Chinese, and other Asian background.
  • Mixed includes mixed - White and Black Caribbean, mixed - White and Black African, mixed - White and Asian, other mixed background.
  • Other includes Arab and other ethnic background.
  • Unknown/Not applicable is used to denote those who are Non-UK domiciled, have an unknown domicile (2014/15 onwards), have refused to give ethnic information or whose ethnicity is unknown.

Census 2001 (used prior to 2012/13)

  • White includes White and Irish Traveller.
  • Black includes Black or Black British - Caribbean, Black or Black British - African, and other Black background.
  • Asian includes Asian or Asian British - Indian, Asian or Asian British - Pakistani, Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi, Chinese, and other Asian background.
  • Other (including mixed) includes mixed - White and Black Caribbean, mixed - White and Black African, mixed - White and Asian, other mixed background, and other ethnic background.
  • Unknown/Not applicable is used to denote those who are Non-UK domiciled, have an unknown domicile (2014/15 onwards), have refused to give ethnic information or whose ethnicity is unknown.

The ethnic groupings of Black, Asian, Mixed and Other may be further grouped as ethnic minority.

Disability status (Student)

The disability categories indicate the type of disability that a student has on the basis of their own self-assessment. Students are not obliged to report a disability. HESA therefore advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total student population.

With the introduction of the Disability Equality Duty, and on the recommendation of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), HESA adopted a version of the coding frame introduced by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC). From 2010/11 new entrants may not be returned to HESA coded as information refused, information not sought or not known. These codes are only used for continuing students.

Entrants in 2010/11 and later

The full label descriptions for each disability are available with the field specification.

In certain analyses of students who entered in 2010/11 or later disability may be grouped as follows: 

  • Known to have a disability includes students who reported a disability that categorised as: a specific learning difficulty; blind or a serious visual impairment; deaf or a serious hearing impairment; a physical impairment or mobility issues; personal care support; mental health condition; social communication/Autistic spectrum disorder; a long-standing illness or health condition; two or more conditions listed plus another disability, impairment or medical condition.
  • No known disability includes students who reported they have no known disability plus students who refused to provide disability information, students for whom this information was not sought, those for whom information was not known and those for whom this information was not applicable.

Entrants before 2010/11

The full label descriptions for each disability are available within the field specification.

In certain analyses of students who entered before 2010/11 disability may be grouped as follows:

  • Known to have a disability includes students who have a disability reported as blind or partially sighted, deaf or hearing impairment, wheelchair user or mobility difficulties, personal care support, mental health difficulties, an unseen disability (e.g. diabetes, epilepsy or asthma), multiple disabilities, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a specific learning difficulty e.g. dyslexia, or another disability not listed.
  • No known disability includes students who indicated that they do not have a disability.
  • Not known includes students who refused to provide disability information, students for whom this information was not sought and those for whom information was not known.
Country/Region of higher education provider

The allocation of a HE provider to a geographical region is done by reference to the administrative centre of that HE provider. Regions in this context are the nine England Regions (formerly Government Office Regions) and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There may be students registered at HE providers who are studying in regions other than that of the administrative centre of the HE provider.

HESA allocates HE providers to Regions as follows:

North East (NEAS), North West (NWES), Yorkshire and The Humber (YORH), East Midlands (EMID), West Midlands (WMID), East of England (EAST), London (LOND), South East (SEAS), South West (SWES), Scotland (SCOT), Wales (WALE) and Northern Ireland (NIRE).

Please note that in an all published student data outputs for 2013/14 onwards, students enrolled at the Open University have been split into its four country campuses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In older years of data, students have been returned at its administrative centre which is located in the South East of England and is counted as a wholly English provider. For bespoke data enquiries, we can supply it as the client wishes including retrospective data extractions. 

Subject of study and JACS codes

Specification of JACS

All JACS subject codes consist of a letter followed by three digits, the first of them non-zero (except the generic codes described below). The initial letter identifies the subject group, for example F for physical sciences. The initial letter and immediately following digit identify the principal subject, for example F5 Astronomy. F500 is a valid JACS code used where there is no need for a higher level of precision, but subjects can be identified more precisely using a second non-zero digit, for example F520 Space & planetary sciences, and with even more precision, F521 Space science and F522 Planetary science. It is often necessary to consider together all the codes, or all the student numbers, falling within a principal subject. This is done through reference to the first two characters, so F5 refers to all of astronomy and to total numbers in it, by no means all of which will have code F500. Similarly, F52 refers to the whole of space and planetary sciences.

The full listing of JACS coding frames can be found here:

JACS3 and JACS2

For 2012/13, a review of a selection of the existing subject areas of the JACS coding system resulted in the implementation of a revised 'JACS3' version of the coding frame. The JACS2 version it replaced had been in existence since 2007/08. The full listing of JACS3, including a mapping between JACS2 and JACS3, can be found at www.hesa.ac.uk/JACS3.

JACS3 and JACS2 are not directly comparable at any level other than subject area, although many codes have been retained in the newer coding frame.

Course codes

Student courses often involve combinations of subjects, and so cannot be described by a single JACS code. Within the HESA student data collection, there are two mechanisms for dealing with this. First, JACS has been slightly extended to allow codes to be assigned to highly integrated courses which cut across principal subjects. Where such a broadly-based course falls within a single subject group, it can be coded as the group letter followed by three zeroes, for example F000 would code such a course in physical sciences. This is known as a generic code, and is an extension of JACS for the purpose of coding complete student courses; generic codes may not be used in any other way, for example for coding modules. Courses which cut across subject groups are given the generic code Y000, which is equivalent to continuing to recognise the need for a combined subject group. The second mechanism is designed to describe less integrated courses of the kind often known as Joint honours. The HESA Student record allows the reporting of up to three subject descriptors for each course and a proportion of time allocated for each subject studied on a course.

Apportionment

Under apportionment, each student instance is, where necessary, divided in a way that reflects the pattern of a split course. This is analogous to the use of FTE calculations (with a variation for initial teacher training (ITT) students).

For split courses not involving an ITT component, HE providers assign their own percentages based on a broad assessment of the relative contribution of subjects to a course, rather than detailed analysis of the contributions of subjects to individual students' courses of study. It is therefore expected that most HE providers will apply the same percentages to all courses and only vary this where there is a substantially different subject split. For HE providers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales the listed standard percentages are recommended, and in Scotland obligatory:

  • Balanced 50% for each of the two subjects,
  • Major - Minor 67% and 33%,
  • Triple 34%, 33% and 33%.

The sum of the proportion allocated to each subject studied on a course must equal 100.

ITT students at undergraduate level who also have specialism subjects recorded (typically, secondary ITT students) are apportioned 50% to the 'Education' subject area and the remaining 50% is further assigned according to the percentages recommended above. Where no subject other than education is recorded, or where the student is on a PGCE course, apportionment is 100% to the 'Education' subject area.

Subject areas

HESA has defined nineteen subject areas in terms of JACS codes for reporting information broken down by subject to present a set of distinct categories that can be compared over time. The subject areas do not overlap, and cover the entire range of JACS principal subjects.

Since initial teacher training data is presented on a count of instance basis rather than an apportioned basis, the figures are not directly comparable with the apportioned figures in the 'Education' subject area, and are tabulated separately to reduce the risk of misinterpretation.

Apart from the need to separate the 'Mathematical science' and 'Computer science' elements of principal subjects G0 and G9 in JACS2, these subject areas are expressed entirely in terms of JACS principal subjects, and correspond closely to JACS subject groups.

JACS3

Subject areas JACS3 code
Medicine & dentistry A
Subjects allied to medicine B
Biological sciences C
Veterinary science D1, D2
Agriculture & related subjects D0, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D9
Physical sciences F
Mathematical sciences G
Computer science I
Engineering & technology H, J
Architecture, building & planning K
Social studies L
Law M
Business & administrative studies N
Mass communications & documentation P
Languages Q, R, T
Historical & philosophical studies V
Creative arts & design W
Education X
Combined Y

Total - Science subject areas has been added to certain analyses. This is the sum of the following subject areas: medicine & dentistry; subjects allied to medicine; biological sciences; veterinary science; agriculture & related subjects; physical sciences; mathematical sciences; computer science; engineering & technology plus architecture, building & planning (i.e. sum of JACS codes A to K inclusive).
 

JACS2

Apart from the need to separate the 'Mathematical science' and 'Computer science' elements of principal subjects G0 and G9 in JACS2, these subject areas are expressed entirely in terms of JACS principal subjects, and correspond closely to JACS subject groups.

Subject areas JACS2 code
Medicine & dentistry A
Subjects allied to medicine B
Biological sciences C
Veterinary science D1, D2
Agriculture & related subjects D0, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D9
Physical sciences F
Mathematical sciences G00, G01, G1, G2, G3, G90, G91
Computer science G02, D4, D5, D6, D7, D92
Engineering & technology H, J
Architecture, building & planning K
Social studies L
Law M
Business & administrative studies N
Mass communications & documentation P
Languages Q, R, T
Historical & philosophical studies V
Creative arts & design W
Education X
Combined Y

Apportionment at principal subject level

Although subject areas provide a framework for presenting information, a more detailed breakdown to JACS principal subjects is used in some analyses. Again, a process of apportionment is necessary, and the procedure is consistent with that used for subject areas, as follows:

For split courses not involving an initial teacher training (ITT) component, the apportionment algorithm is as reported by the HE provider.

ITT students at undergraduate level who also have a specialism subject recorded (typically, secondary ITT students) are apportioned 50% to the 'X1 Training teachers' principal subject and the remaining 50% is further apportioned according to the algorithm for non-ITT students. Where no subject other than education is recorded, or where the student is on a PGCE course, apportionment is 100% to the 'X1 Training teachers' principal subject.

JACS SET marker

The JACS SET (Science, engineering and technology) marker classifies the following subject groups as SET; 

  • (1) Medicine and dentistry
  • (2) Subjects allied to medicine 
  • (3) Biological sciences
  • (4) Veterinary science 
  • (5) Agriculture and related subjects
  • (6) Physical sciences
  • (7) Mathematical sciences
  • (8) Computer science
  • (9) Engineering and technology
  • (A) Architecture, building and planning

Please note that there is no consistent definition for SET subjects, the above grouping is used within the HESA Heidi system however other specified groupings can also be requested.

Aggregate offshore record

Aggregate offshore coverage

The Aggregate offshore record for students studying wholly outside the UK (Aggregate offshore record), collects data about all students studying (to date) wholly outside the UK, who either registered with a reporting UK higher education provider (HEP) or who are studying for an award of the reporting HEP. This includes all students active at any point in the reporting period, including students who became dormant part way through the year, and those withdrawing from courses.

The small number of distance learning students studying outside the UK who are funded (e.g. Crown servants overseas and the Services), or considered fundable under Funding Council Early Statistics rules, are not included in the Aggregate offshore record, but included in the in the individualised Student record.

Students who commence their studies outside the UK and subsequently come to continue their studies within the UK are included in the Aggregate offshore record up until the point at which they enter the UK, when a full individualised record is required. Students studying under articulation arrangements but who do not meet the criteria of being either registered with the reporting HEI or studying for an award of the reporting HEI are not included in the record, nor are students who spend a sandwich, language or other year abroad as part of their overall course, which is otherwise UK based.

Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are counted as being outside the UK, but within the European Union, within the Aggregate offshore record.

N.B. From 2012/13 the HESA constituency includes all UK publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs) and a number of alternative providers (APs), collectively referred to as higher education providers (HEPs). This SFR, as in previous years, contains information regarding only the HEI element of this constituency and the University of Buckingham and therefore uses the term ‘higher education providers (HEPs)’.

Location of provision

Country of overseas provision data is supplied to HESA in the form of country codes. Countries are mapped to geographical regions, informed by the National Statistics Country Classification 2006 grouping of countries. Further details can be found here.

Within the European Union includes students whose location of study country was a European Union (EU) member state. This includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Figures from location of study in the Åland Islands, the Canary Islands, and the French overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion are included in this category. Croatia is additionally included in this category from 2013/14 onwards, having acceded to EU on July 1st 2013.

Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, for the purposes of these tables, are counted as within the European Union. (Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU).

Outside the European Union includes students whose location of study country was outside the EU.

Level of study (offshore)

Level of study is taken from the level of provision and describes the qualification that will be obtained as a result of successful completion of studies. It is based on the coding frame used for course aim in the Student record.

HESA classifies courses according to a framework which aligns with the framework for HE qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) (of which the framework for qualifications of HE providers in Scotland is a constituent part) and the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and Bologna frameworks. Details are available within the student courseaim field specification. It includes level M for taught masters degrees, and level H for honours degrees.

  • Postgraduate (research) includes doctorate and masters degrees studied primarily through research (levels D and L).
  • Postgraduate (taught) includes doctorate and masters degrees not studied primarily through research (levels E and M).
  • First degree includes bachelors degrees with honours and ordinary bachelors degrees (levels H and I).
  • Other undergraduate includes qualification aims equivalent to and below first degree level (levels J and C).
  • Further education includes qualifications at FE level (level P and below).
Type of activity

Type of activity defines the arrangements under which overseas programmes are provided.

Students registered at a UK higher education provider

Overseas campus of reporting provider includes those studying at a campus set up as a branch campus of the parent provider, and as such it is seen as no different from any other campus of the provider.

Distance, flexible or distributed learning denotes educational provision leading to an award of an awarding provider delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through means which generally do not require the student to attend particular classes or events at particular times and particular locations. (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 are returned in the Student record and not included in the Aggregate offshore record.

Other arrangement including collaborative provision denotes provision leading to an award of an awarding provider delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through an arrangement with a partner organisation. Collaborative provision, sometimes described as 'franchised' provision includes consortia and joint award arrangements.

Students studying for an award of a UK higher education provider

Students studying for an award of a UK HEI are not registered students of the reporting provider but are studying for an award of the reporting provider, and are registered at an Overseas partner organisation or via some Other arrangement.