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HESA Subscription - FAQ

Why does an English Approved (fee cap) provider have a higher per-provider fee to pay than a Scottish provider involved in more collections?

The simple answer is that the total cost of data collection, assurance and dissemination is higher in England than in Scotland. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main reason is that cost drivers are more closely linked to provider numbers than student numbers. England has a much higher number of providers than the rest of the UK, making the costs higher for England than for other nations.

What do I need to pay this time round?

The amount invoiced in January is:

  • The Statutory subscription February 2020 - July 2020 (no VAT) plus
  • Fees for Optional services (+VAT) in England and Northern Ireland

This is the cost of your HESA subscription for six months.

For  most providers this is the second part of the HESA subscription in the academic year 2019/20. The first part, covering the period August 2019 to January 2020, was based on our previous subscription model.

Will we be charged the same fixed fee and per student charge for the second half year (i.e. over the year we'll be paying around twice this), or will the second half year be charges for other items?

The per-provider or fixed fee will remain constant for the year.

Due to our need to ensure that providers are only charged costs that have fallen within the relevant 12 month period, the per-student fee will vary at the next invoice to ensure that full costs are recovered, and providers are not over- or under-charged.

The invoice covering the period August 2020 - January 2021 will have the same per-provider fee but may have a different per-student fee.

Why is my fee significantly different now compared to six months ago?

The invoices being issued in January are the first to be issued using our new subscription model, which means the two fees cannot be directly compared. However, there are some aspects that have made the difference more distinct:

  • in the previous invoice (August 2019 - January 2020), the Graduate Outcomes element was not included as this has been funded through the initial Graduate Outcomes subscription invoiced in December 2018.
  • eight months of Graduate Outcomes costs are included within this invoice, to align the Graduate Outcomes subscription 'year' with that of the main HESA subscription. 
  • a contribution to the cost of running of the Data Futures programme has also been included within the per-student element of the statutory subscription fee.

Why has the per student fee increased? 

It is very difficult to compare the component charges in this six-monthly invoice to those of the previous six months or indeed those of the previous year. However, there are three main drivers of this change; 

  • the subscriptions have been calculated in a different way  
  • a Data Futures component is included within the per-student fee, and 
  • the per-provider fee has reduced.  

As you will know, HESA’s subscription model has changed to incorporate the requirements of HERA, how this is implemented and the consequences of which are detailed in our page ‘how we calculate our statutory fee’. 

HERA requires the subscription collected from English providers to be reflective of the cost of providing the service to those providers only, cross subsidization is no longer permitted between nations, or between statutory and non-statutory activity. HERA does not however, state that subscriptions need to be cost reflective at an individual provider level, and therefore allows for a degree of subsidisation within nations. This principle supports the OfS’ ambition to limit the regulatory cost to a new small provider. The weighting applied to the fixed and variable elements help achieve this. 

It is through the weighting applied to the per-provider and per-student elements that the policy approach of ensuring that smaller providers are not disproportionately impacted by the cost of regulation is applied. Previously, the fixed per-provider fee was tiered to align with provider size, in addition to the per-student rate inherently linking cost to provider size . The new lower per-provider fee, linked to OfS registration category or provider type, is fixed irrespective of size of provider. This results in the need to weight the per-student fee accordingly to achieve what we feel is a fair apportionment of costs across providers. 

Why is a Data Futures charge included? 

Further to this change in fee structure, the Grant provided by the OfS to fund HESA’s costs on the Data Futures Programme was terminated in 2019. Delivery of the Data Futures Programme is a Statutory requirement for HESA as part of its DDB status and as such, costs not funded by Grant need to be recovered through the HESA subscription directly from Providers (as allowed for in the HERA). The ‘per student fee’ for the period February – July 2020 includes a higher contribution than is expected in future periods in this regard as it seeks to recover unavoidable project costs that would ordinarily have been funded by the OfS Grant. 

How does this subscription fee compare to previous years? 

As is explained above, it is difficult to directly compare this subscription fee with previous years because the subscription model has changed significantly. When comparing with previous subscriptions it is essential to look at the invoices issued for your provider as a whole rather than comparing each component part.

Below are some example provider subscription breakdowns, to allow a comparison across the two Academic Years (i.e., 2018/19 and 2019/20). As with any fundamental changes to a funding model such as this, the impact will not be felt evenly across all providers. Our approach has been to smooth the changes as much as possible, and for most providers the total cost of HESA’s subscription for the 12-months period from August 2019 to July 2020 is less than that for the previous 12 months. 

A Scottish or Welsh provider:

  

  

Flat fee 

Per student / 
graduate rate 

Student /
graduate population 

Total per student /
graduate fee 

Total fee 

Academic Year 2018/19 

August 

Main Subscription 

£3,700 

£1.77 

12,500 

£22,125 

£25,825 

December 

Graduate Outcomes Subscription 

£500 

£6.75 

4,167 

£28,125 

£28,625 

  

Total 

  

  

  

  

£54,450 

Academic Year 2019/20 

August  

Main subscription (Aug - Jan) 

£1,850 

£0.70 

12,500 

£8,750 

£10,600 

January 

Statutory Subscription (Feb - Jul) 

£1,500 

£1.40 

12,500 

£17,500 

£19,000 

January 

Graduate Outcomes (Dec - Jul) 

£200 

£2.40 

4,167 

£10,000 

£10,200 

January 

Fees for Optional Services (Feb - Jul) 

n/a 

  

  

  

n/a 

  

Total (exc VAT) 

  

  

  

  

£39,800 

 

English providers: 

Small provider (example student population of 1,000), previously an AP, now Approved (Fee Cap), no Optional Services

  

  

Flat fee 

Per student / 
graduate rate 

Student /
graduate population 

Total per student /
graduate fee 

Total fee 

Academic Year 2018/19 

August 

Main Subscription 

£2,750 

£1.59 

1,000 

£1,593 

£4,343 

December 

Graduate Outcomes Subscription 

£500 

£6.75 

333 

£2,250 

£2,750 

  

Total 

  

  

  

  

£7,093 

Academic Year 2019/20 

August  

Main subscription (Aug - Jan) 

£1,375 

£0.79 

1,000 

£792 

£2,167 

January 

Statutory Subscription (Feb - Jul) 

£2,000 

£1.68 

1,000 

£1,680 

£3,680 

January 

Graduate Outcomes (Dec - Jul) 

£200 

£2.40 

333 

£800 

£1,000 

January 

Fees for Optional Services (Feb - Jul) 

  

  

  

  

£0 

  

Total (exc VAT) 

  

  

  

  

£6,847 

 

Medium provider (example student population of 10,000), HEP now Approved (Fee Cap), all Optional services – mid EMR bracket 

  

 

Flat fee 

Per student / 
graduate rate 

Student /
graduate population 

Total per student /
graduate fee 

Total fee 

Academic Year 2018/19 

August 

Main Subscription 

£3,400 

£1.77 

10,000 

£17,700 

£21,100 

December 

Graduate Outcomes Subscription 

£500 

£6.75 

3,333 

£22,500 

£23,000 

  

Total 

  

  

  

  

£44,100 

Academic Year 2019/20 

August  

Main subscription (Aug - Jan) 

£1,700 

£0.88 

10,000 

£8,800 

£10,500 

January 

Statutory Subscription (Feb - Jul) 

£2,000 

£1.68 

10,000 

£16,800 

£18,800 

January 

Graduate Outcomes (Dec - Jul) 

£200 

£2.40 

3,333 

£8,000 

£8,200 

January 

Fees for Optional Services (Feb - Jul) 

£2,200 

  

  

  

£2,200 

  

Total (exc VAT) 

  

  

  

  

£39,700 

 

Large provider (example student population of 32,500), HEP now Approved (Fee Cap), All Optional Services – highest EMR bracket 

  

 

Flat fee 

Per student / 
graduate rate 

Student /
graduate population 

Total per student /
graduate fee 

Total fee 

Academic Year 2018/19 

August 

Main Subscription 

£5,000 

£1.77 

32,500 

£57,525 

£62,525 

December 

Graduate Outcomes Subscription 

£500 

£6.75 

10,833 

£73,125 

£73,625 

  

Total 

  

  

  

  

£136,150 

Academic Year 2019/20 

August  

Main subscription (Aug - Jan) 

£2,500 

£0.88 

32,500 

£28,600 

£31,100 

January 

Statutory Subscription (Feb - Jul) 

£2,000 

£1.68 

32,500 

£54,600 

£56,600 

January 

Graduate Outcomes (Dec - Jul) 

£200 

£2.40 

10,833 

£26,000 

£26,200 

January 

Fees for Optional Services (Feb - Jul) 

£2,600 

  

  

  

£2,600 

  

Total (exc VAT) 

  

  

  

  

£116,500 

 

For any other questions please contact [email protected]