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Abbreviations / Acronyms

Organisations and terms which have been replaced, changed name, or cease to exist are marked with an asterisk *. They are included because they may continue to be referred to.


ACE Adult Continuing Education
ACE Arts Council England
ACU Association of Commonwealth Universities
AGCAS Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services
AGR Association of Graduate Recruiters
AHRC Arts and Humanities Research Council
AHUA Association of Heads of University Administration
ALF* Access to Learning Fund
ALI* Adult Learning Inspectorate
AMOSSHE Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education
AMRC Association of Medical Research Charities
AMS annual monitoring statement
AOC Association of Colleges
API Age Participation Index
APL accreditation of prior learning
ASNs* additional student numbers
AUA Association of University Administrators
AUDE Association of University Directors of Estates
AURIL Association for University Research & Industry Links
AY academic year

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BA British Academy
BA/BSc Bachelor of Arts/Science
BBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
BMA British Medical Association
BME black and minority ethnic
BUFDG British Universities Finance Directors Group
BUFVC British Universities Film & Video Council

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CAFAS Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards
CATE* Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
CETL* Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - completed HEFCE-funded initiative
CFEE co-funded employer engagement
CHEAD Council for Higher Education in Art & Design
CHEIA Council of Higher Education Internal Auditors
CHERI* Centre for Higher Education Research and Information
CIF Capital Investment Framework
CKE Centre for Knowledge Exchange
COI* Central Office of Information
CPD continuing professional development


Cost-sharing group


Depending on the context this means either Corporate social responsibility  or Comprehensive Spending Review

CUC Committee of University Chairs
CVU Council of Validating Universities

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DAPs degree-awarding powers
DCMS Department of Culture, Media and Sport
DEFRA Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
DEL Department for Employment and Learning (in Northern Ireland)
DELLS Department for Education and Lifelong Learning and Skills (in Wales)
DH Department of Health
DLHE Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education
DSA Disabled Students' Allowance

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EAUC Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges


Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
ECU Equality Challenge Unit
EEA European Economic Area (all EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)
EHRC Equality and Human Rights Commission
ELQ Equivalent or lower qualification
EP* A HEFCE electronic publication
EPSRC Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
ERDF European Regional Development Fund
ESF European Social Fund
ESRC Economic & Social Research Council
EU European Union

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FACE Forum for Access and Continuing Education
FAMD Funding and monitoring data
FAQ frequently asked questions
FD foundation degree
FE further education
fEC full economic cost 
FEC further education college
FHEQ Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
FM* Financial Memorandum (now the Memorandum of assurance and accountability)
FOI Freedom of Information Act
FPE full-person equivalent
FSR HESA Finance Statistics Return 
FSSG Financial Sustainability Strategy Group 
FTE full-time equivalent
FY financial year

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GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education
GDP gross domestic product

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HE higher education
HEAPES Higher Education in Alternative Providers Early Statistics survey
HE-BCI higher education-business and community interaction (survey)
HEBRG Higher Education Better Regulation Group
HEEON Higher Education Equal Opportunities Network
HEEPI Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement
HEERA Higher Education External Relations Association
HEFCE Higher Education Funding Council for England
HEFCW Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
HEI higher education institution
HEIF Higher Education Innovation Funding
HEIFES Higher Education in Further Education: Student Survey
HEPI Higher Education Policy Institute
HEPISG Higher Education Public Information Steering Group 
HEPS* Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability
HESA Higher Education Statistics Agency
HESES Higher Education Students Early Statistics
HEW Higher Education Wales
HMRC Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
HMSO* Her Majesty's Stationery Office (now TSO)
HNC Higher National Certificate
HND Higher National Diploma
HR human resources

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IAGS Intentions After Graduation Survey
ICT information and communication technologies
ILR individualised learner record
INSET In-Service Education and Training
IP intellectual property
ISR individualised student record
IT information technology
ITT Initial Teacher Training

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JACCUC Joint Advisory Committee for Church Universities and Colleges
JACS Joint Academic Coding System
JCPSG* Joint Costing and Pricing Steering Group
JISC* Joint Information Systems Committee (now Jisc)

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KIS Key Information Set
KPT key performance target

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LAD Learning Aim Database
LDCS Learndirect Classification System
LEA Local Education Authority - The County council, Metropolitan District or London Borough with responsibility for education



Local Enterprise Partnership

Leadership Foundation for Higher Education

LGM leadership, governance and management
LLN Lifelong Learning Network
LPN Low-participation neighbourhood

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MA/MSc Master of Arts/Science
MRC Medical Research Council

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NAO National Audit Office
NCTL National College for Teaching and Leadership
NCUB National Centre for Universities and Business
NDPB non-departmental public body (otherwise known as 'quangos')
NERC Natural Environment Research Council
NESTA National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts
NFER National Foundation for Educational Research
NIACE National Institute of Adult Continuing Education



Northern Ireland Higher Education Council

National Scholarship Programme

NSS National Student Survey
NUS National Union of Students
NVQ National Vocational Qualification

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OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OFFA Office for Fair Access
OFSTED Office for Standards in Education
OGC Office of Government Commerce
OIA Office of the Independent Adjudicator 
ONS Office for National Statistics
OTTP Overseas Trained Teacher Programme

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PAC Public Accounts Committee
PG Postgraduate
PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
PGR Postgraduate Research
PGT Postgraduate Taught
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
PI performance indicator
POLAR Participation of Local Areas 
PSRB Professional, statutory or regulatory body

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QAA Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
QR quality-related research (funding)
QTS qualified teacher status

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R&D research and development
RAB Resource Accounting Budget (charge)
RAE Research Assessment Exercise
RAS* Research Activity Survey
RCUK Research Councils UK
RDA* Regional Development Agency
RDP Research Degree Programme
REF Research Excellence Framework
RPG Regulatory Partnership Group

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SASS Strategy for Access and Student Success
SCONUL Society of College, National and University Libraries
SDF* Strategic Development Fund
SFC Scottish Funding Council
SFE Student Finance England
SIVS strategically important and vulnerable subjects
SLC Student Loans Company
SME small to medium-sized enterprise
SORP Statement of Recommended (Accounting) Practice (accounting in HE institutions)
SPA Supporting Professionalism in Admissions
SRHE Society for Research into Higher Education
STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics
SWOUT sandwich year-out 

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TDAPs Taught degree-awarding powers
TESS teaching enhancement and student success
TNE Transnational education
TQSE Teaching Quality and the Student Experience
TRAC Transparent Approach to Costing
TRAC(T) TRAC for teaching (a national framework for costing teaching, based on TRAC principles)
TSEP  The Student Engagement Partnership
TSO The Stationery Office

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UALL Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (formerly UACE)
UCEA Universities and Colleges Employers Association
UCET Universities Council for the Education of Teachers
UG undergraduate
UKADIA UK Arts & Design Institutions Association
UKBA* UK Border Agency (see UKVI)
UKCISA UK Council for International Student Affairs
UKRO UK Research Office
UKRPIF UK Research Partnership Investment Fund
UKVI UK Visas & Immigration (replaced visa service of UKBA in April 2013)
UN United Nations
UOA unit of assessment (in RAE and REF)
UQP Unsatisfactory quality policy (HEFCE’s policy for addressing unsatisfactory quality in institutions)
UUK Universities UK
UVAC University Vocational Awards Council

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VAT value-added tax
VC vice-chancellor
VFM value for money

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WP widening participation
WPSA Widening Participation Strategic Assessment
WPSS Widening Participation Strategic Statement

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