You need cookies enabled


You need cookies enabled
Higher education institutions should upload returns to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 12 December.

Executive summary


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

Key points

2. The data will:

  • give an early indication, for purposes including government planning, of the number of HE students studying in the academic year 2016-17
  • together with data supplied to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), inform our allocation of teaching funds for the academic year 2017-18.

3. This document provides the following:

  1. An introduction to the Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey 2016-17 (HESES16) and how we use it to inform our funding allocations.
  2. Guidance notes for completing the HESES16 survey (Section 1).
  3. Definitions used in the HESES16 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 October 2016.
  5. A summary of changes since HESES15 (paragraph 27-35 of the main document).
  6. Good practice guidance (shaded sections throughout the document).
  7. Guidance on related HESA student record data (boxed ‘HESA notes’ sections throughout the document).

4. Information on how HESES survey data is used to inform funding allocations can be found in ‘Guide to funding 2016-17: How HEFCE allocates its funds’ (HEFCE 2016/07).

Action required

5. HESES16 should be completed by all HEIs receiving HEFCE recurrent funds for teaching. Returns must be uploaded to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 12 December 2016. Workbooks will be available to institutions in October 2016.

6. A provisional timetable for the HESES16 return and 2017-18 funding round is given in paragraph 24.



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 M.

Section 3 contains HESES16 sample tables. 

NB: The following changes have been made to correct errors in Appendix 2 since this document was originally published:

  • Paragraphs 46, 52, 61, 66 and 70 originally referred to percentages when they should have referred to percentage points. This has been corrected.
  • References to ‘PG’ (postgraduate) in paragraphs 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 23, 56, 63, 67, 71, 81, 83, 86 have been corrected to ‘PGT’ (postgraduate taught).
  • In paragraph 79, the second bullet has been changed to show the correct threshold at which highlighting is triggered.


Main report and annexes

Download the HEFCE2016_22 as PDF (2,994 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_22 as MS Word (5,153 KB)

Summary of changes since HESES15

Download the HEFCE2016_22changes as PDF (194 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22changes as MS Word (149 KB)

Section 1: Instructions

Download the HEFCE2016_22S1 as PDF (736 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22S1 as MS Word (1,309 KB)

Section 2: Funding rules and definitions

Annex A: Defining the HESES student population

Download the HEFCE2016_22a as PDF (829 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22a as MS Word (1,216 KB) 

Annex B: Recognised higher education

Download the HEFCE2016_22b as PDF (208 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22b as MS Word (150 KB) 

Annex C: Counting student activity

Download the HEFCE2016_22c as PDF (578 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22c as MS Word (737 KB)

Annex D: Completion and non-completion

Download the HEFCE2016_22d as PDF (258 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22d as MS Word (308 KB)

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

Download the HEFCE2016_22e as PDF (135 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22e as MS Word (154 KB)

Annex F: Residential and fundability status

Download the HEFCE2016_22f as PDF (400 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22f as MS Word (507 KB)

Annex G: Price groups

Download the HEFCE2016_22g as PDF (171 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22g as MS Word (196 KB)

Annex H: Mode of study

Download the HEFCE2016_22h as PDF (243 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22h as MS Word (206 KB) 

Annex I: Level of study

Download the HEFCE2016_22i as PDF (138 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22i as MS Word (163 KB)

Annex J: Long years of instance

Download the HEFCE2016_22j as PDF (130 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22j as MS Word (156 KB) 

Annex K: Year abroad categories in Table 4

Download the HEFCE2016_22k as PDF (238 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22k as MS Word (353 KB) 

Annex L: Nursing, midwifery and allied health for Table 7

Download the HEFCE2016_22l as PDF (151 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22l as MS Word (177 KB)

Annex M: List of abbreviations

Download the HEFCE2016_22m as PDF (104 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_22m as MS Word (153 KB)

Section 3: HESES16 Sample tables

Download the HESES16 sample tables as MS Excel Spreadsheet (2,362 KB)


Appendix 1: Validation checks on HESES16 data

Download the HEFCE2016_22_1 as PDF (145 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_22_1 as MS Word (75 KB)

Appendix 2: Credibility checks on HESES16 data

Download the HEFCE2016_22_2 as PDF (227 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_22_2 as MS Word (119 KB)

Appendix 3: Guidance on the funding comparison worksheet

Download the HEFCE2016_22_3 as PDF (132 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_22_3 as MS Word (60 KB)

Date: 16 September 2016

Ref: HEFCE 2016/22

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Funding

Enquiries should be directed to: