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Dear Head of Organisation

Advance notification of changes to HEAPES for 2014-15

1. This circular letter notifies alternative providers of higher education of changes that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has asked us to make to the Higher Education in Alternative Providers Early Statistics (HEAPES) survey for the 2014-15 academic year. We do not require a reply to this letter. This letter is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of all changes, but gives advance notification on key points.

2. The HEAPES14 data will be used to monitor the student number control (SNC) allocations for the 2014-15 academic year, as set by BIS. We anticipate that BIS will also wish to use the data to set SNC allocations for the 2015‑16 academic year.

3. We will therefore make the following changes to the HEAPES survey.

  1. The HEAPES14 survey will only collect data relating to the 2014-15 academic year.
  2. The structure of the survey workbook will be as follows.
    1. Table 1 will contain a list of all designated full-time courses for the 2014-15 academic year. The courses will be listed by course identifier, level, name, awarding body and location, using information provided during the designation process. For each course, providers will be expected to report students in the HEAPES population starting on or before 1 November 2014, disaggregated by whether or not they are in the exempt population, and then by whether or not they receive student support. Providers will only be able to report student numbers against the courses listed in the table. Providers will also be required to return the Student Loans Company (SLC) course code to enable us to monitor against SLC data.
    2. Table 2 requires providers to report a higher-level summary of the number of students in the HEAPES population after the 1 November 2014 census date. The table requires a further disaggregation by course level and by whether or not students are in the exempt population.
    3. The workbook will also contain a table showing recruitment against the 2014‑15 SNC allocation and any indicative financial implications.
  3. A number of changes and clarifications are being made to the HEAPES guidance. These include the following.
    1. Condition A of the HEAPES population definition now specifies that ‘designated full-time courses’ means courses designated for the purpose of 2014-15 student support for new students. When such designation has not been granted by BIS, the course should not be treated as designated for HEAPES purposes, even if provision has been made by BIS for the ‘teach out’ of students who started before 2014-15. This means that courses with lapsed designation will not be listed in Table 1 of the HEAPES workbook, and students on such courses will not be in the HEAPES population.
    2. Condition A now specifies that to be included in the HEAPES population, a student must study with the provider on a designated full-time course for at least two weeks, or have their attendance on such a course confirmed to either the SLC or the Students Awards Agency for Scotland. This implies that a student may meet HEAPES condition A and be in the HEAPES population even if they do not complete two weeks on a designated course, as long as attendance has been confirmed to SLC or the Students Awards Agency for Scotland.
    3. A clarification to the treatment of franchises: a course can only be treated as franchised if it meets the conditions in the BIS guidance (see paragraph 18 of ‘Alternative provider specific course designation: Supplementary guidance to criteria and conditions’). 

4. A sample HEAPES14 template is provided at Annex A. This is intended only to illustrate the points raised above. Further changes may be made to the template before the HEAPES14 guidance is published.

Further information

5. We intend to publish the full HEAPES14 guidance in August 2014.

6. Questions about the data requirements in HEAPES14 should be sent to Questions about the SNC policy should be directed to BIS at

Yours sincerely

Professor Madeleine Atkins

Chief Executive

Date: 16 July 2014

Ref: Circular letter 23/2014

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Finance

Enquiries should be directed to: