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Acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations

The higher education sector has a fondness for acronyms.

Our website and our data outputs contain a number of acronyms. Some of these are still current; some refer to organisations that have ceased to exist since we started collecting data in 1993. This page expands common acronyms to support users interpreting our current or historical data.

  • AGCAS: Associate of Graduate Careers Advisory Services
  • AHRC: Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • AHUA: Association of Heads of University Administration
  • AMOSSHE: Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education
  • AP: Alternative (HE) provider
  • ARC: Academic Registrars Council
  • ARMA: Association of Research Managers & Administrators
  • AUDE: Association of University Directors of Estates
  • BBSRC: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • BERR: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (2007-2009)
  • BIS: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2009-2016)
  • BTEC: Business and Technician Education Council
  • BUFDG: British Universities Finance Directors Group
  • CMA: Competition and Markets Authority
  • CAH: Common Aggregation Hierarchy
  • CAPD: Continuing academic and professional development
  • CPD: Continuing professional development
  • DBEIS: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • DCSF: The Department for Children, Schools and Families (2007-2010)
  • DfES: The Department for Education and Skills (2001-2007)
  • DEL(NI): The Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland) (1999-2016)
  • DfE: Department for Education
  • DfE(NI): The Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)
  • DLHE: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education
  • LDLHE: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey
  • Long DLHE: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey
  • DipHE: Diploma of Higher Education
  • EBacc: English Baccalaureate
  • ECU: Equality Challenge Unit
  • ESFA: Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • EFA: Education Funding Agency (2010-2016)
  • ESRC: Economic and Social Research Council
  • ELWa: Education and Training Wales (2000-2006)
  • EPSCR: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • ESRC: Economic and Social Research Council
  • EMR: Estates Management Record for Higher Education Providers
  • FEC: Further education college (fEC can also refer to full economic costing)
  • FPE: Full-person equivalent
  • FTE: Full-time equivalent
  • GTC: General Teaching Council
  • HE-BCI: Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction
  • HECoS: Higher Education Classification of Subjects
  • HECSU: Higher Education Careers Service Unit
  • HEDIIP: Higher Education Data and Information Improvement Programme
  • HEFCE: Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • HEFCW: Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • HEI: Higher education institution
  • HEP: Higher education provider
  • heidi: Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (replaced by Heidi Plus, which is not an acronym)
  • HEPISG: HE Public Information Steering Group
  • HESA: Higher Education Statistics Agency
  • HESPA: Higher Education Strategic Planners' Association
  • HNC: Higher National Certification
  • HND: Higher National Diploma
  • ITT: Initial Teacher Training
  • Jisc: Joint Information Systems Committee (note: while Jisc was originally an acronym, they no longer use the expanded title)
  • JACS: Joint Academic Coding System
  • KIS: Key Information Set
  • LSC: Learning and Skills Council (2001-2010)
  • MBA: Master of Business Administration
  • MRC: Medical Research Council
  • MOOC: Massive Open Online Course
  • NAW: National Assembly for Wales
  • NAO: National Audit Office
  • NCTL: National College for Teaching and Leadership
  • NVQ: National Vocational Qualification
  • NERC: Natural Environmental Research Council
  • NHS: National Health Service
  • NSS: National Student Survey
  • OECD: The Organisation for Economic Co-operative and Development
  • OFFA: Office for Fair Access
  • ONS: The Office for National Statistics
  • OSI: Office of Science and Innovation (2006-2007)
  • OST: Office of Science and Technology (1992-2006)
  • OU: The Open University
  • PI: Performance Indicators
  • PGCE: Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • QCA: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
  • QTS: Qualified Teacher Status
  • QAA: Quality Assurance Agency
  • RCUK: Research Councils UK
  • REF: Research Excellence Framework
  • STFC: Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • SFC: Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
  • SIC: Standard Industrial Classification
  • SME: Small and Medium Economy
  • SOC: Standard Occupational Classification
  • SFA: Skills Funding Agency
  • SFR: Statistical First Release
  • SLC: Student Loans Company
  • SPA: Supporting Professionalism in Admissions
  • SRHE: Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)
  • SROC: Student Record Officers' Conference
  • TA: Teaching Agency
  • TDA: Training and Development Agency for Schools (2005-2012)
  • TEF: Teaching Excellence Framework
  • UCAS: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (note: while UCAS was originally an acronym, they no longer use the expanded title)
  • UCEA: Universities & Colleges Employers Association
  • UCISA: Universities & Colleges Information Systems Association
  • UHR: Universities Human Resources
  • UKCES: UK Commission for Employment and Skills
  • UKPRN: UK Provider Reference Number
  • UKRLP: UK Register of Learning Providers
  • UUK: Universities UK.