Skip to main content

Linked NPD-ILR-HESA data

HESA collects data on students in UK Higher Education Providers at the end of each academic year. The data is collected on behalf of the government departments and funding bodies who have a statutory requirement to receive data from HE Providers.

The Department for Education (DfE) receives HESA data and links it to data from the Individual Learner Record (ILR, which covers Further Education Colleges) and to the National Pupil Database (NPD, which covers schools). Linked data is available for research purposes from DfE.

How to request linked data

To request linked data please see the DfE web pages here:

Please contact HESA before making a request for linked data including HESA data. This will help you create a data specification that can be approved by HESA.
Please email [email protected] or telephone +44 (0) 1242 211494

A full list of what data is available from the linked NPD, ILR and HESA Student Record can be found via the DfE National Pupil Database User Guide

The linked data includes a subset of fields from the HESA Student Record. Full lists of the fields in each year's HESA Student Record can be found via here.

Data Protection and security

The HESA Student Record constitutes Personal Data and Sensitive Personal Data as defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As a data controller of this record HESA has a responsibility to ensure that any proposed use of data is fair and lawful and compatible with the reasons for which it was collected.

Any data request that includes HESA data will be referred to HESA to decide whether the proposed use of data is compatible with HESA's obligations under GDPR. A number of factors will be considered including the proposed use of data and the sensitivity of the data requested. HESA is obliged to minimise the risk of releasing disclosive data about individuals. Examples of sensitive data include ethnicity and disability of students. Examples of potentially disclosive data include postcodes and dates of birth. This sort of information will generally only be supplied in grouped and aggregated formats.

To request data extracts of linked data from DfE (as set out above) you will need to complete a number of documents including the Linked Data Request Application Form and Information Security Questionnaire. You will have to demonstrate that you will comply with all relevant requirements of GDPR, including proving that you or your organisation:

  • are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office to process personal data or fall within an exemption
  • have appropriate security arrangements in place to process the data
  • intend to use the data only for the authorised purpose(s)
  • will keep the data only for the specified length of time
  • will not share the data without our prior written approval and will comply with any specified statistical disclosure control mechanism

HESA may impose additional requirements or restrictions on your use of the data beyond those of GDPR.

All forms and additional information are available via the DfE National Pupil Database User Guide.


HESA is a charity and charges for the time taken to administer requests for linked data.

The standard charge for linked data requests is £430 plus VAT

If the linked data request is a re-use of previously received linked data and no additional data is being provided a nominal charge of £100 plus VAT will be charged.

Institutional preview

If the proposed use of data has a high public profile HESA will contact HE Providers to let them know about the data requested. A small additional charge may be applied to cover the cost of communicating with HE Providers.

Legal fees

Where a request requires HESA to obtain legal advice an extra charge will be made to cover these costs. Most requests will not require additional legal advice and we will discuss this with you before incurring such costs.