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This report investigates the sources and types of published online information on UK higher education (HE) provision. It relates specifically to two purposes of information: student decision-making and quality assurance and accountability. It covers information for current and prospective undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

The research has two elements:

  • An overview mapping and gap analysis of online HE information sources for students in the UK
  • An in-depth investigation of information published online by a sample of HE providers. 

Where possible the research maps the information available against guidance documentation published by the funding bodies and by regulatory organisations such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Quality Assurance Agency.  It should be noted the study was undertaken between March and May 2015, shortly after the publication of CMA guidance to institutions on consumer law.

The study found that there is now a plurality of online sources available to students, and some re-use of data across sites. However it notes that the clarity and quality of information could be improved, including through clearer labelling of official data to help enhance recognition among prospective students, and by supporting institutions to help them meet the guidance.


Main report and Appendices 1 to 4

Download the Information mapping study as PDF (1,275 KB) 

Download the Information mapping study as MS Word (738 KB)

Appendix 5: Information provision mapping spreadsheet

Download the 2015_nssinfomap5 as MS Excel Spreadsheet (27 KB)

Appendix 6: Coding matrix

Download the 2015_nssinfomap6 as MS Excel Spreadsheet (37 KB)

Appendix 7: Review of Welsh providers

Download the 2015_nssinfomap7 as MS Excel Spreadsheet (19 KB)

Appendix 8: Review of Northern Irish and Scottish providers

Download the 2015_nssinfomap8 as MS Excel Spreadsheet (17 KB)

Appendix 9: Additional review of English providers

Download the 2015_nssinfomap9 as MS Excel Spreadsheet (18 KB)


Date: 8 October 2015

Ref: Independent research