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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

1. This letter provides higher education institutions with further information about how we have used their Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data to inform:

  • funding allocations for 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15
  • adjustments to their 2013-14 student number control (SNC) allocation.

This letter also asks institutions to provide an update for students whose completion status was reported as undetermined in their 2011-12 HESA return. Updates should be uploaded to the HEFCE extranet by Friday 5 July 2013 (see paragraph 11).

3. We are also making available a number of funding summary outputs which will assist institutions in understanding how their HESA data have been used. If, on consideration of the outputs, institutions identify errors in HESA data, they may wish to correct their data by submitting an action plan to the HEFCE extranet by Friday 5 July 2013 (see paragraph 5).

3. Institutions in England can access their funding summaries from today, and summaries for Northern Irish institutions will be released shortly. We will write separately to heads of institutions and Higher Education Students Early Statistics (HESES) survey contacts, to provide the necessary access keys to the HEFCE extranet.

Funding summaries

4. The funding summaries contain data that have been used to calculate:

  • mainstream and employer co-funded grant rates for old-regime students
  • adjustments to the 2013-14 SNC allocation for newly exempt categories and core protection
  • 2013-14 quality-related (QR) Research Degree Programme (RDP) supervision fund
  • 2013-14 Student Opportunity (SO) allocation
  • 2013-14 and 2014-15 National Scholarship Programme (NSP) allocations
  • 2013-14 very high-cost science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects allocation.

(The adjustments to the SNC, NSP and STEM allocations listed are primarily based on 2010-11 HESA data, rather than 2011-12 HESA data.) The funding summaries for SNC and the 2013-14 NSP were separately released via letters from Christine Daniel on 25 January 2013 and 11 March 2013 respectively. The funding summaries for 2014-15 were separately released via letters from Jonathan Snape on 13 March 2013. These summaries have not changed from their original release. We have included them here so that institutions can access all of the funding summaries from a single location on the HEFCE extranet.

5. The funding summaries are provided for general information and to bring further transparency to our calculations. We expect institutions to review their outputs with a view to understanding how their data are used to inform funding. As in previous years, institutions may inform us of any errors they identify in their HESA data by submitting an action plan. The deadlines for submission of an action plan and sign-off for amendments are:

  • Friday 5 July 2013          Deadline for the submission of action plans.
  • Friday 19 July 2013        Deadline for sign-off of 2011-12 HESA data amendments.

6. We originally published the algorithms used to generate the funding summaries in ‘Higher Education Statistics Agency funding and monitoring data 2011-12: Web facility’ (HEFCE Circular letter 25/2012). However, we have made some minor changes where we believe improvements were appropriate. These changes are outlined in Annex A.

Relationship with ‘HESA FAMD 2011-12: Funding data reconciliations’

7. We also use HESA data to monitor other returns that inform funding, such as HESES. We will release these funding data reconciliations separately later this year, and may ask institutions to provide explanations for any discrepancies that we identify.

Higher education institutions in Northern Ireland

8. For Northern Irish institutions we produce only those outputs listed in Annex B.

Completion status survey (CSS)

9. It is appropriate for the completion status for some students to be reported as undetermined on the HESA data return. This occurs when a student has not yet completed their year of study, but is not defined as having ‘non‑completed’ because the student is:

  1. On a non-standard year (that is, a year of study that spans two academic years).
  2. Expected to undergo their final assessment within 13 months of the start of their year of study, but those 13 months had not passed by the time the HESA return is compiled.

10. In the absence of a definitive completion status, we have assumed in our provisional funding calculations that such students have completed their year of study. We are therefore asking institutions to update the completion status of any students reported on the 2011-12 HESA student record with an undetermined completion status (FUNDCOMP = 3). In particular it is imperative that institutions provide an update for those students who were previously reported as FUNDCOMP = 3 but have subsequently non‑completed their year of study. If this is not done, our assumption that such students have completed may result in rates of funding for the phase-out of grant for old-regime students being lower than they would otherwise have been. Institutions that provide updated information for students who non‑complete are therefore likely to see increases in their rates of funding that will apply for the phasing-out of grant for 2012-13 and subsequent years.

11. The CSS workbook containing pre-filled data for each HEFCE-fundable student in the HESES population who has been returned as FUNDCOMP = 3 can be downloaded from the HEFCE extranet. We will write separately to the heads of institutions and HESES contacts at English institutions with the necessary extranet access keys for the survey. Institutions will need to update the ‘Updated FUNDCOMP’ column and upload the completed workbook to the same web-site. The deadlines for submission and sign-off of the updated completion status return are:

  • Friday 5 July 2013         Deadline for the submission of the updated completion status return.
  • Friday 19 July 2013       Deadline for sign-off.

How we allocate funding

12. Further information about how we fund institutions is provided in the individual grant letters that have been issued under embargo to institutions.

Further information

13. Guidance is available on our web-site. Specific areas that may be of interest are as follows.

  1. Extranet locations, deadlines and documentation can be found in the ‘2011-12 funding and monitoring data overview’.
  2. Further details about the preparation and submission of action plans can be found in the ‘Guide to action plans’.
  3. Technical information (such as algorithms) is listed in the ‘2011-12 funding and monitoring data overview’.
  4. Further details about the funding summaries, including descriptions of some allocation methods such as that for student opportunity, can be found in the ‘Indicative funding summaries’.
  5. Information on how to obtain data from the HEFCE extranet can be found in the ‘How to access outputs’ guide.

14. Institutions are reminded that the individualised data made available through this exercise are covered by the Data Protection Act. These data are only accessible to someone holding the HEFCE extranet key which we will provide to heads of institution and HESES contacts for institutions. Institutions should ensure that the extranet key is not passed to anyone without a legitimate reason to access the individualised data.

15. If you require further information contact Dominic Meyer (tel 0117 931 7285, e-mail hesa_heses_stats@hefce.ac.uk).

Yours sincerely

Sir Alan Langlands

Chief Executive

Date: 28 March 2013

Ref: Circular letter 05/2013

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Planning, Finance, Audit

Enquiries should be directed to:

Dominic Meyer, tel 0117 931 7285, e-mail hesa_heses_stats@hefce.ac.uk