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Categories of Onward Use of Data

As part of your subscription agreement, you have the opportunity to confirm your preferences regarding onwards uses of your institutional data.

Below is an explanation of the data uses in three Permitted Purposes Categories; 1, 2 and 3 that are used within the subscription model. The categories provide detailed examples of how that data use benefits higher education. We believe the work undertaken in each category makes an important contribution to our sector including; students, higher education providers and HE policy makers and we hope you see the benefits of continuing to provide your data to be used in future HESA outputs. 

You will need to give your consent by indicating on the front sheet of your Subscription Agreement.

Category 1 Permitted Purpose

(Referred to as categories 1, 2, 3 & 6 in the HESA Consultation (phase 1))

Category 1 includes much of HESA’s previous data sharing which distributes large amounts of data of benefit to higher education providers and those in the higher education sector. It includes making data available to be used in Heidi Plus and sharing with students for academic research. It also includes statutory or regulatory bodies who require Provider Information for their functions (where they do not have a statutory power) and professional bodies that have a formal role in regulating a profession or are a primary accreditor of courses (such that the majority of relevant courses will generally be accredited by that body). It facilitates organisational efficiencies with HE and governmental business functions.    

Examples of work where HESA data is utilised to provide a benefit:

Onward Use Data Benefits Benefit To

Heidi Plus Data Analytics & Visualisation platform - a business intelligence tool utilised by 3,000+ sector users to; benchmark, gain insight and plan more effectively using multiple HESA data streams.

Higher Education Providers




Academic Researchers


Sector Bodies


Statutory Bodies (Government Departments, Agencies & Public Bodies)

Government analysis to inform and shape HE policy.

Academic research allowing increased insight and developing knowledge across the HE sector. This includes academics as well as students.

Bespoke data requests allowing providers to request data outside of Heidi Plus which is tailored to their exact requirements.

Sector bodies whose activities are associated with the support of HE.

For example, Advanced HE who provide insight into higher education as well as monitoring equality and diversity across the sector or the Engineering Professors’ Council.

A discounted Heidi Plus Subscription Fee is offered to Providers who opt-in to Category 1 Permitted Purpose. This is to take into account the contribution of their data to Heidi Plus.

Category 2 Permitted Purpose

(Referred to as category 4 in the HESA Consultation (phase 1))

Category 2 facilitates benefits for the student, ranging from prospective students looking for information on providers to aid their study decisions to graduate recruiters using data to make effective graduate labour market decisions. 

Examples of work where HESA data is utilised to provide a benefit:

Onward Use Data Benefits Benefit To

League table compilers assisting prospective students with their higher education study decisions.

Prospective students




Higher Education Providers


Graduate Employers

Course comparison websites helping students to compare university courses.

Graduate recruitment enabling graduates to secure degree level careers with better support from labour market practitioners.

Further information about the onward use of data category 2

Category 3 Permitted Purpose

(Referred to as category 5 in HESA Consultation (phase 1)): 

Category 3 enables agreed organisations including public, private or third sector whose work can make a significant contribution to the HE sector.   

Examples of work where HESA data is utilised to provide a benefit:

Onward Use Data Benefits Benefit To

Other educators such as schools and colleges showing the progression of previous pupils to improve the quality of careers advice and raise aspiration.

Prospective Students


Post-16 Educators




Higher Education Providers


Industry & Membership Bodies


International Governments

National, regional and industry media to highlight important policy areas in the sector such as widening participation and equal opportunities.

Transportation and accommodation providers who are planning improved services for students.

For example, regional airports planning new routes to service emerging student markets.

Membership organisations, learned societies and professional associations such as the Royal Society of Chemistry or Institute of Physics enabling them to evaluate and advance their subject areas.

Overseas embassies and international governments answering questions on their nationals studying abroad.

Further information about the onward use of data category 3

Further information

We hope this information enables you to make an informed decision regarding which to opt-in to.

Our team are available to discuss these categories and the implications of not opting-in to them.

If you would like further information before making your decision, please do not hesitate to contact us.