HESA returns

The Data Quality Team (DQT) is responsible for the collation and submission of the following annual Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) returns.

Student record

This data submission is an individualised record of registered students’ activity between 1 August and 31 July each year. These include personal characteristics, course- and module-level data, funding information and details about qualification outcomes. The data collected annually as part of the student record are used extensively for league tables, performance indicators, publications and to drive funding for the institution.

Unistats record

Formerly known as the Key Information Set (KIS), this submission is made through HESA and contains a record of all full- and part-time undergraduate courses at the institution, in addition to other course-level metrics. Data collected in this record enable prospective students to compare courses across UK universities, to aid decision-making about what to study and where. Data are provided to HESA between May–August each year. The returned data are linked with other datasets such as the National Student Survey (NSS) and are published on the Unistats website which is viewable by prospective students.

Initial Teacher Training record

The Initial Teacher Training record (ITT) is a record of personal characteristics of new and continuing ITT students and details about the courses that they are enrolled on. The data are submitted to HESA in September each year. HESA pass this information on to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

Aggregate Off-shore record

This is a retrospective collection containing an aggregated headcount of students registered with providers, but who are studying wholly outside the UK. The submission is made to HESA in November each year.

Further information about any of these data collections can be found on the HESA website.

Changes to how HESA collect data

HESA are intending to transform the Higher Education (HE) information landscape as part of their Data Future Project. Their vision is a modernised and more efficient approach to the collection of HE data that provides:

  • Better insights to support decision-making and help to meet today’s challenges
  • Future-proofing so that HE data can keep pace with an evolving and dynamic sector

The programme aims to deliver a new approach to data collection beginning in 2019/20.

The project has now published its Detailed Design which dramatically changes the way in which data are collected from Higher Education Providers (HEPs) – replacing annual statutory returns with frequent in-year returns of data and data changes. To rationalise data collection from HEPs, HESA aim to collect HE information and forward relevant excerpts onto third parties such as HEFCE, NCTL, DfE and BEIS. In this way many institution- and department-level returns will be merged into a year-round provision of data to HESA, who will process the data and pass it on to relevant third parties on behalf of the HEPs. This new model should allow HE providers to adopt a more efficient and effective approach to data submission.

For further information visit the HESA webpages (links in the above text) or contact dqt@admin.ox.ac.uk.