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Version 1.0.0 Produced 2023-09-20


The HESA Student record has been collected since 1994/95 from subscribing HE providers throughout the devolved administrations of the United Kingdom. The data collected as part of the Student record is used extensively by various stakeholders and is fundamental in the formulation of:

  • Funding.
  • Publications (including Unistats).
  • League tables.

The Data Futures programme brings the requirements of two existing data collections - Student record and Student Alternative record (previously known as the Alternative provider student record) - into a new student data collection specification.

The new data specification has been a product of extensive work with Statutory Customers, HE Providers and sector bodies. The collection specification has been refined through collaborative development to accommodate the needs of Statutory Customers and executed in a way as to minimise the resulting impact upon providers.

The data specification needs to flex and adapt to the future requirements of a dynamic policy environment and therefore will require changes to be made. The collection specification for Data Futures has been structured in such a way to ensure that these changes are not fundamental. An iterative schedule of releases will allow for modifications to be made, at a similar frequency to those of an established collection specification (for example, the Staff record).

Record specific detail

The Student record is collected in respect of all students registered at the reporting provider who follow courses that lead to the award of a qualification or provider credit. The emphasis of the coverage of the Student record is those who are (or were) actively following a course at some time during the applicable reference period.

Full details of the coverage can be found within the Coverage of the record.

Data collected

The Student record collects individualised data about students active during the reference period. A wide range of data items are collected, including: 

  • The student's entry profile and personal characteristics,
  • Module and course level data,
  • Funding information and qualifications awarded.

The detail of the different items collected can be found in the Data dictionary located on the coding manual landing page.

Students who are studying overseas or who come to the UK for a period of less than eight consecutive weeks during their programme of study are not included in the Student record but should instead be included in the Aggregate offshore record. This is a complementary annual return which provides a headcount of students studying through the provider's provision overseas. Please note the current coverage for the Aggregate offshore record has not changed.

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