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Higher education institutions should upload data returns to the HEFCE extranet by noon on 10 December.

Executive Summary


1. This document asks higher education institutions to complete the annual survey of students on recognised higher education courses.

Key points

2. The data will:

  • give an early indication, for purposes including government planning, of the number of higher education students studying in the academic year 2015‑16
  • together with data supplied to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), inform our allocation of teaching funds for the academic year 2016‑17.

3. This document provides the following:

  1. An introduction to the Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey 2015‑16 (HESES15) and how we use it to inform our funding allocations.
  2. Guidance notes for completing the HESES15 survey (Section 1).
  3. Definitions used in the HESES15 survey (Section 2).
  4. Examples of the survey tables (Section 3). The actual tables for completion will be available to download from the HEFCE extranet in November 2015.
  5. A summary of changes since HESES14 (paragraph 26-49 of the main document).

4. Information on how HESES survey data is used to allocate funding can be found in ‘Guide to funding 2015‑16: How HEFCE allocates its funds’ (HEFCE 2015/04).

Action required

5. HESES15 should be completed by all higher education institutions receiving HEFCE recurrent funds for teaching. Returns must be uploaded to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Thursday 10 December 2015. Workbooks will be available to institutions in November 2015.

6. A provisional timetable for the HESES15 return and 2016-17 funding round is given in paragraph 23.



The guidance document is in three main sections.

Section 1 is instructions for completing the survey workbook, including screen shots of the tables. This section also describes data verification and data assurance processes.

Section 2 contains the funding rules and definitions that you need to refer to in order to complete the survey. These are in Annexes A to L. (Please note that annex lettering has changed from previous years.)

Section 3 contains sample HESES15 tables. 

NB: The following changes have been made to correct errors since this document was originally published:

  • In Annex C Figure C3, erroneous references to 'HEIFES' have been amended to 'HESES'.
  • In Annex E paragraph 16, the digits '0.6' have been corrected to '0.5'.
  • In Appendix 2 paragraph 49, the word 'HEFCE-fundable' has been removed from 'the number of HEFCE-fundable students'.
  • Corrections have been made to the contents page and the index.


Main report and annexes

Download the HEFCE2015_19 as PDF (2,471 KB)

Download the HEFCE2015_19 as MS Word (4,862 KB)

Summary of changes since HESES14

Download the Summary of changes since HESES14 as PDF (130 KB) Download the Summary of changes since HESES14 as MS Word (136 KB)

Section 1: Instructions

Download the HEFCE2015_19S1 as PDF (599 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19S1 as MS Word (2,321 KB)

Section 2: Funding rules and definitions

Annex A: Defining the HESES student population

Download the HEFCE2015_19a as PDF (658 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19a as MS Word (974 KB)

Annex B: Recognised higher education

Download the HEFCE2015_19b as PDF (136 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19b as MS Word (136 KB)

Annex C: Counting student activity

Download the HEFCE2015_19c as PDF (519 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19c as MS Word (587 KB)

Annex D: Completion and non-completion

Download the HEFCE2015_19d as PDF (220 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19d as MS Word (296 KB)

Annex E: Full-time equivalence for part-time years of instance

Download the HEFCE2015_19e as PDF (135 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19e as MS Word (142 KB)

Annex F: Residential and fundability status

Download the HEFCE2015_19f as PDF (358 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19f as MS Word (493 KB)

Annex G: Price groups

Download the HEFCE2015_19g as PDF (133 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19g as MS Word (183 KB)

Annex H: Mode of study

Download the HEFCE2015_19h as PDF (187 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19h as MS Word (156 KB)

Annex I: Level of study

Download the HEFCE2015_19i as PDF (87 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19i as MS Word (138 KB)

Annex J: Long years of instance

Download the HEFCE2015_19j as PDF (91 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19j as MS Word (140 KB)

Annex K: Year abroad categories in Table 4

Download the HEFCE2015_19k as PDF (180 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19k as MS Word (183 KB)

Annex L: List of abbreviations

Download the HEFCE2015_19l as PDF (67 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19l as MS Word (141 KB)

Section 3: HESES15 Sample tables

Download the HESES15 Sample tables as MS Excel Spreadsheet (1,388 KB)


Appendix 1: Validation of HESES15 data

Download the HEFCE2015_19_1 as PDF (91 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19_1 as MS Word (52 KB)

Appendix 2: Credibility checks on HESES15 data

Download the HEFCE2015_19_2 as PDF (254 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19_2 as MS Word (78 KB)

Appendix 3: Guidance on the indicative 2014-15 and illustrative 2016-17 funding worksheets

Download the HEFCE2015_19_3 as PDF (181 KB) Download the HEFCE2015_19_3 as MS Word (98 KB)

Date: 18 September 2015

Ref: HEFCE 2015/19

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Funding

Enquiries should be directed to: