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A valid data submission is required by Tuesday 15 July 2014.

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

Unistats and the Key Information Set: Data collection timetable and web-site updates for 2014

1. This letter sets out information on:

  1. The processes and timetable for higher education institutions, further education colleges and alternative providers to submit their 2014 Key Information Set (KIS) data, so they can be published on the Unistats web-site in August 2014.
  2. Implementation of the KIS widget for 2014.
  3. Accreditation information in the KIS.
  4. Ongoing updates to the Unistats web-site.

The changes and updates that we outline below have been made in response to feedback from institutions, with a view to making the exercise more satisfactory.


2. The KIS is a set of standardised information about undergraduate courses, which enables easy comparison between them. The KIS is published on the Unistats web-site, and updates to the information are made annually. Further information on the development of KIS and Unistats can be found on the HEFCE web-site under ‘Unistats and Key Information Sets’.

Key points to note

3. It is a condition of HEFCE funding that (directly or indirectly) HEFCE-funded institutions provide KIS data. For further information, see ‘Financial memorandum’ on the HEFCE web-site. This will be replaced from 1 August 2014 by the Memorandum of assurance and accountability.

4. UK higher education providers that do not receive HEFCE funding may choose to submit KIS data, but to have their data published on Unistats they will need to have subscribed to the Quality Assurance Agency, and may also need to return other data to HEFCE or the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

5. The timetable for the collection of 2014 KIS data is shown in Table 1. This differs from the timetable in previous years in that we have staggered the submission process.

Table 1: Timetable for the collection of KIS data



Thursday 29 May 2014

Data collection opens

Early July 2014

2014 National Student Survey and 2012-13 Destinations of Levers from Higher Education survey data added to KIS data

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Valid data submission required

Tuesday 5 August 2014 (noon)

Deadline for sign-off of data for preview

Monday 11 to Friday 22 August 2014

Data available for preview on Unistats

Tuesday 26 August 2014 (noon)

Deadline for submission and sign-off of amendments prior to publication of new dataset on Unistats

Thursday 28 August 2014

The 2014 KIS dataset is published on Unistats

September 2014

System re-opens for updates

6. The initial sign-off for publication should be carried out by the head of institution, but formal responsibility for signing off any subsequent updates may be delegated to another member of the senior management team. 

Implementation of the KIS widget for 2014

7. We do not anticipate making any changes to the KIS widget for 2014 that will require configuration changes by institutions.

8. We have recently carried out an audit of KIS widgets for English institutions and identified a number of issues with their implementation. We will be writing to our KIS contacts in institutions shortly to outline these and the corrective action that needs to be taken prior to publication of the 2014 dataset. We will also be issuing revised guidance in summer 2014 to clarify our expectations about the placement and display of the widget.

Accreditation information in the KIS

9. We are reviewing the criteria and processes for the inclusion of accreditation information in the KIS, and plan to introduce some minor changes to these from next year, following consultation with the sector.

10. In order to ensure the accuracy of the accreditation information that is published, from September HESA will be publishing on its web-site a list of courses for which accreditation has been claimed in the KIS. We will be asking accrediting bodies to check that the accreditation statements selected are appropriate. Where multiple accreditation types exist for an accrediting body, institutions should seek advice from the appropriate body to ensure that the correct accreditation type is selected.

Unistats 2014: Site updates

11. Since the update to the site in September 2013, there have been minor changes such as the introduction of a Twitter panel on the homepage. Before September 2014 we will be implementing an introductory video tutorial explaining to users how to make best use of the site, publishing a set of frequently asked questions and re-designing the course assistant tool to make it more user-friendly. We are also working on direct links at course level between the UCAS and Unistats web-sites.

Further information

12. Further detail on the timetable and process for the 2014 KIS can be found in Annex A for higher education institutions and alternative providers, and Annex B for further education colleges.

13. Please refer to the contacts listed at the top of this circular letter if further guidance or advice is needed.

Next steps

14. All eligible higher education providers should have arrangements in place to provide the required information, within the timetable indicated in Table 1.

15. The availability of robust, comparable data to assist in decision-making is valued by prospective students and those who advise them. We would therefore like to thank institutions for their efforts in providing good quality KIS data, as well as for the feedback that has been provided to enhance the collection process and the Unistats web-site.

Yours sincerely

Chris Millward


Date: 13 June 2014

Ref: Circular letter 17/2014

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Heads of universities in Scotland, Heads of other higher education providers submitting KIS data in 2014

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Quality assurance, Quality enhancement, Learning and teaching, Web-site management 

Enquiries should be directed to:

Marie-Helene Nienaltowski, tel 0117 931 7281, e-mail

Catherine Nixon, tel 0117 931 7476, e-mail

HESA’s institutional liaison, tel 01242 211144, e-mail