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How we calculate your Subscription fee

HESA abides by guidelines linked to its role as designated data body.

We follow two main principles:

1. In allocating costs to any given service or activity, a proportion of HESA overheads and indirect costs are allocated to that service or activity. We are unable to cost an activity as a marginal activity, meaning that every line of business is fully cost-reflective.

2. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (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 cannot subsidise England. This contributes to the Subscription fees being different in each country.

Payment and invoice timing

Our Subscription year runs from 1 February to 31 January. 

Each year’s Subscription fee covers the costs of Statutory and non-statutory activity in that year, made up of direct and indirect or overhead costs. 

This will be made up of two billing periods, each covering six months: 

  • Billing period one: February-July.
  • Billing period two: August-January.

Invoicing twice a year allows for any potential adjustments during the year.

To fulfil its responsibilities as the Designated Data Body, HESA is required to notify the OfS of providers who have not paid by the date specified in this notice.

Per-provider and per-student fees

To allocate fees fairly between nations and between providers, we share the Subscription across two components: 

  • Per-provider fee. 
  • Per-student fee. 

The per-provider fee reflects the fact that a significant amount of the costs incurred by HESA are fixed and driven by provider numbers rather than student numbers. 

The per-provider fee remains fixed for the Subscription year, in both billing periods.

Subscriber category  Per-provider fee per annum Per-provider fee per billing period (as invoiced)
England Approved £2,500  £1,250
England Approved (fee cap) £4,000 £2,000
England further education college (FEC) £1,000 £500
Teach-out and limited designation £2,000 £1,000
Scotland full subscriber £3,000 £1,500
Wales full subscriber £3,000 £1,500
Wales further education college (FEC) £2,000 £1,000
Northern Ireland full subscriber  £3,000 £1,500
Northern Ireland further education college (FEC) £0 (Graduate Outcomes only £0 (Graduate Outcomes only

The per-student fee ensures that smaller providers are not disadvantaged as larger providers pay a greater proportion of the costs.

The per-student fee can vary between billing periods. By varying the per-student fee between billing periods HESA can recuperate additional costs or share savings during the year, as per the requirement in HERA.

Subscriber category Per-student amount billing period two (Aug22-Jan23)
England £1.01
Scotland £0.93
Wales £1.01
Northern Ireland £1.01

Cost apportionment: national differences

The cost of these activities is allocated to collections, as mandatory collection requirements differ across the UK.

The national requirements for collections are then used to apportion the costs to the nations. To do this, an appropriate cost driver is used for each collection. For example, the number of students for the Student collection or number of staff for the Staff collection.

Once the total cost for a nation is identified, where appropriate these costs are split between Statutory and non-statutory collections.

A total cost, including an appropriate proportion of overheads, as required by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA), is then attributed to each nation.

Billing cycle for Statutory services

  • Per-Provider (Fixed) Fee: split evenly across the two billing periods.
  • Per-Student (Variable) Fee: quoted figure charged in each billing period (NB This figure may vary between billing periods).
  • Graduate Outcomes (Fixed Fee): split evenly across the two billing periods.
  • Graduate Outcomes (Per Student Fee): 40% of cost charged billing period one; 60% charged in billing period two.
  • Aggregate Offshore Record: variable, may vary across the two billing periods.
  • Heidi Plus (where mandated): Full annual charge in billing period two.
  • Statutory returns with a nil return (where mandated): Full fixed fee in billing period one.

Billing cycle for optional services

  • Estates Management Record (EMR): Full fee in billing period one.
  • Reporting of Staff outside the Statutory coverage of the Staff Record: Full fee in billing period one.

Optional services subscription

Graduate Outcomes

Please refer to the Graduate Outcomes Subscription page for the detail and rates of this element of your Statutory Subscription.

Aggregate Offshore record per-student fee

Providers who have offshore students, registered at their provider in the UK, and returned to HESA as a subset of the Aggregate Offshore collection will pay 50% of the per-student rate (for a given provider). 

The total Aggregate Offshore fee will be capped at £7,250 for each academic year, £3,625 for each subscription period, as invoiced.

Heidi Plus

Depending on your subscriber category Heidi Plus may be part of your Statutory Subscription or an optional service. Please see Heidi Plus Subscription for details.

VAT

The Statutory HESA Subscription is treated as a Statutory requirement and as such falls outside the scope of VAT and no VAT will be applicable to the above charges. If this treatment changes VAT will be charged at the applicable rate.

Questions about billing and fees

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 total cost of data collection, assurance and dissemination is higher in England than in Scotland. The main reason for this 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.
Why has my February-July period invoice changed compared to the previous August-January period invoice?

  • New student and graduate numbers are used to reflect those from the most recent completed academic year that are available. Invoices for the C20071 collection reflect student numbers from 2020/21. As student numbers for Northern Irish Further Education Colleges are not yet available to HESA, we will use student numbers from 2019/20. These numbers are then used for both February-July and August-January periods. 
  • New per-student fees are calculated for each UK nation for each 6-month period to cover HESA’s anticipated costs.
  • New Graduate Outcomes per-graduate and fixed fees are calculated for each UK nation for each year of the survey. These are then used for both February-July and August-January periods, noting that 40% of the annual total is invoiced for the February-July period and 60% for the August-January period to align with the timing of costs incurred by HESA.
  • Where not mandated by a Statutory authority, optional services, such as the Estates Management record (EMR) and the reporting of Staff outside the Statutory coverage of the Staff record (SOSR), are invoiced in February for the 12-month period from February to January.
  • Some services are invoiced only in the August-January period as described below (Heidi Plus, Graduate Outcomes opt-in question banks, etc.)
Why has my August-January period invoice changed compared to the previous February-July period invoice?

  • New per-student fees are calculated for each UK nation for each 6-month period to cover HESA’s anticipated costs.
  • 60% of the Graduate Outcomes annual per-graduate and fixed fees are invoiced in the billing period two (August-January) and 40% in billing period one (February-July).
  • Where not mandated by a statutory authority, Graduate Outcomes opt-in question banks are invoiced only in billing period two (August-January); however, surveys operate throughout the 12-month year from billing period one (February-July). 
  • Heidi Plus fees are invoiced only in billing period two (August-January) for providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Some services are invoiced only in billing period one (February-July) as described above (Estates Management record, staff outside the Statutory coverage of the Staff record, etc).