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HESA Subscription Model

This page provides an overview of the current HESA subscription model, which came into effect in February 2020. For the specific rates associated with this model please see subscription rates page, or for the narrative on why this model has been applied see HESA Subscription and HERA.

Payment and invoicing timings

Our subscription year runs from 1 February to 31 January, which consists of two subscription periods, 1 February to 31 July and 1 August to 31 January.

The annual schedule (below) demonstrates how the model aligns fee charges with cost-generating activity. With the February to January span providing the best fit to incorporate total data collection activity for the year. 

Some costs are charged on an annual basis and others are split between the two subscription periods. The below table identifies what costs fall into which subscription period.

Element of subscription

Included in subscription period one?

(February - July)

Included in subscription period two?

(August - January)

Statutory subscriptions    
Per-Provider (Fixed) Fee Yes, the detailed fee is split evenly across the two periods Yes
Per-Student (Variable) Fee Yes, quoted figure charged NB This figure may vary between subscription periods Yes, quote figure charge
Graduate Outcomes (Fixed Fee) Yes, even split across the two periods Yes
Graduate Outcomes (Per Student Fee) Yes, 40% of cost charged in this period Yes, 60% of cost charged in this period
Aggregate Offshore Record Yes, the detailed fee is split evenly across the two periods Yes, the detailed fee is split evenly across the two periods
Heidi Plus (where mandated) No Full annual charge
Statutory returns with a nil return (where mandated) Full fixed fee No
Optional Services charges    
Estates Management Record (EMR) Full fee No
Reporting of Staff outside the statutory coverage of the Staff Record Full fee No

Statutory subscription model

The methodology for calculating our subscription model includes a per-provider fee and a per student fee.

There are varying requirements across the UK, and HERA requires the distribution of costs between England and the rest of the UK to reflect the differences in services provided.  England cannot subsidise other nations and other nations should not subsidise England.

To facilitate this both per-provider and per-student elements of the subscription fee need to vary depending on whether the provider is in England or in the rest of the UK.

The per-student fee is based upon the Student Instance.

The term 'instance' is used to describe a student's engagement with the HE provider, which, because a student can have more than one instance of engagement, can exceed the number of students.

More information regarding how subscriptions are calculated are on our how we calculate our fees page, with more information about instance and student coverage can be found in our definitions section on the website.

Subscriber categories:

  • England Approved
  • England Approved (fee cap)
  • England Designated for Teach Out
  • England Limited Designation
  • England FEC
  • Scotland Full Subscriber
  • Wales Full Subscriber
  • Wales FEC
  • Northern Ireland Full Subscriber
  • Northern Ireland FEC

Optional services subscription

Services covered within the Optional Services Subscription are only applicable in England and Northern Ireland and relate to the following activities. Most optional activities and services fall within the scope of VAT.

This list may change over time, but currently includes:

  • Estates Management Record (EMR) subscription fee
  • Staff outside the statutory coverage of the Staff Record

HESA recommended activities

HESA recommended activities, such as classroom-based training, are charged outside of a subscription fee and are not included within any elements of the subscription. As with the optional services, recommended activities also fall within the scope of VAT.

Heidi Plus

The Heidi Plus service is now provided by Jisc, on behalf of HESA.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Heidi Plus will continue to be a Statutory requirement and it will be included as part of your HESA subscription invoice. As it is a statutory requirement it will not attract VAT.

As Heidi Plus is not a Statutory requirement of the OfS it will fall within the scope of VAT in England. It will be invoiced by Jisc directly.

Full details can be found on the Heidi Plus Subscription page.