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Further education and sixth form colleges should upload returns to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 14 November.

Executive summary


1. This document asks further education and sixth form colleges 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 2016-17
  • together with the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) supplied to the Skills Funding Agency, 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 in Further Education: Students Survey 2016-17 (HEIFES16) and how we use it to inform our funding allocations.
  2. Guidance notes for completing the HEIFES16 survey (Section 1).
  3. Definitions used in the HEIFES16 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 HEIFES15 (paragraph 27-35 of the main document).
  6. Good practice guidance (shaded sections throughout the document).
  7. Guidance on related ILR data (boxed ‘ILR notes’ sections throughout the document).

4. Information on how HEIFES 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. HEIFES16 should be completed by all further education and sixth form colleges receiving HEFCE recurrent funds for teaching. Returns must be uploaded to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 14 November 2016. Workbooks will be available to institutions in October 2016.

6. A provisional timetable for the HEIFES16 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 HEIFES16 sample tables. 

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

  • Paragraph 5 of Annex C originally referred in error to 'the HEIFES population for 2015-16'. This has been corrected to 'the HEIFES population for 2016-17'.
  • In Appendix 2, paragraphs 48, 54, 63, 68 and 72 originally referred to percentages when they should have referred to percentage points. This has been corrected.


Main report and annexes

Download the HEFCE2016_23 as PDF (2,782 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_23 as MS Word (5,633 KB)

Summary of changes since HEIFES15

Download the HEFCE2016_23changes as PDF (193 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23changes as MS Word (165 KB)

Section 1: Instructions

Download the HEFCE2016_23S1 as PDF (764 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23S1 as MS Word (2,147 KB)

Section 2: Funding rules and definitions

Annex A: Defining the HEIFES student population

Download the HEFCE2016_23a as PDF (759 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23a as MS Word (1,105 KB)

Annex B: Recognised higher education courses

Download the HEFCE2016_23b as PDF (131 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23b as MS Word (173 KB)

Annex C: Counting student activity

Download the HEFCE2016_23c as PDF (424 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23c as MS Word (516 KB)

Annex D: Completion and non-completion

Download the HEFCE2016_23d as PDF (243 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23d as MS Word (324 KB)

Annex E: Full-time equivalence for part-time students

Download the HEFCE2016_23e as PDF (147 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23e as MS Word (182 KB)

Annex F: Residential and fundability status

Download the HEFCE2016_23f as PDF (396 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23f as MS Word (521 KB)

Annex G: Price groups

Download the HEFCE2016_23g as PDF (159 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23g as MS Word (217 KB)

Annex H: Mode of study

Download the HEFCE2016_23h as PDF (243 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23h as MS Word (224 KB)

Annex I: Level of study

Download the HEFCE2016_23i as PDF (136 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23i as MS Word (173 KB)

Annex J: Long years of course

Download the HEFCE2016_23j as PDF (128 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23j as MS Word (168 KB)

Annex K: Year abroad categories in Table 4

Download the HEFCE2016_23k as PDF (237 KB)Download the HEFCE2016_23k as MS Word (371 KB) 

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

Download the HEFCE2016_23l as PDF (149 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23l as MS Word (190 KB) 

Annex M: List of abbreviations 

Download the HEFCE2016_23m as PDF (103 KB) Download the HEFCE2016_23m as MS Word (170 KB) 

Section 3: HEIFES16 Sample tables

Download the HEIFES16 sample tables as MS Excel Spreadsheet (3,167 KB)


Appendix 1: Validation checks on HEIFES16 data

Download the HEFCE2016_23_1 as PDF (147 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_23_1 as MS Word (77 KB)

Appendix 2: Credibility checks on HEIFES16 data

Download the HEFCE2016_23_2 as PDF (198 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_23_2 as MS Word (137 KB)

Appendix 3: Guidance on the funding comparison worksheet

Download the HEFCE2016_23_3 as PDF (132 KB)

Download the HEFCE2016_23_3 as MS Word (60 KB)

Date: 16 September 2016

Ref: HEFCE 2016/23

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Funding

Enquiries should be directed to: