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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Higher education institutions should upload returns to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 11 December 2017.

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 2017‑18
  • together with data supplied to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), inform the allocation of teaching funds for the academic year 2018‑19
  • be used to update the HEFCE Register of HE providers
  • inform the Annual Provider Review (APR), which is our core mechanism to assess quality in the HE providers we fund.

3. This document provides the following:

  1. An introduction to the Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey 2017‑18 (HESES17) and how we use it to inform our funding allocations.
  2. Guidance notes for completing the HESES17 survey (Section 1).
  3. Definitions used in the HESES17 survey (Section 2).
  4. Appendices which provide detailed technical information to support the HESES17 tables and worksheets (Section 3). Sample tables are available below. The actual tables for completion will be available to download from the HEFCE extranet in October 2017.
  5. A summary of changes since HESES16 (paragraphs 29 to 41 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. Although, under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the teaching funding responsibilities of HEFCE are expected to transfer from April 2018 to the Office for Students (OfS), institutions should assume that the guidance in this document on the preparation and use of HESES17 data will continue to apply. Accordingly, any references in this document to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), ‘the Council’, ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ include the OfS as may be appropriate. Information on how HESES survey data is used to inform funding allocations can be found in ‘Guide to funding 2017-18: How HEFCE allocates its funds’ (HEFCE 2017/04).

Action required

5. HESES17 should be completed by all HEIs receiving HEFCE recurrent funds for teaching. Workbooks will be available to institutions in October 2017. Key actions for institutions are as follows:

  1. Completed workbooks must be uploaded to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 11 December 2017.
  2. We will email HESES contacts at institutions with any data verification queries by 18 December 2017. An initial response will be required from institutions within five working days. Further rounds of queries may be necessary.
  3. By 15 January 2018:
    1. All data verification queries will need to be resolved.
    2. The data must be signed off by the accountable officer of each HEI.


Main report and annexes

 Download the HEFCE2017_17 as PDF (2,422 KB)

Download the HEFCE2017_17 as MS Word (7,525 KB) 

Summary of changes since HESES16

Download the HEFCE2017_17changes as PDF (234 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17changes as MS Word (201 KB)

Section 1: The HESES process and instructions on completing the workbook

Download the HEFCE2017_17S1 as PDF (1,053 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17S1 as MS Word (2,041 KB)

Section 2: Funding rules and definitions

Download the HEFCE2017_17S2 as PDF (1,261 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17S2 as MS Word (4,143 KB)

Annex A: Defining the HESES student population

Download the HEFCE2017_17a as PDF (413 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17a as MS Word (1,383 KB) 

Annex B: Recognised higher education

Download the HEFCE2017_17b as PDF (207 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17b as MS Word (210 KB)

Annex C: Counting student activity

Download the HEFCE2017_17c as PDF (601 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17c as MS Word (1,009 KB)

Annex D: Completion and non-completion

Download the HEFCE2017_17d as PDF (260 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17d as MS Word (352 KB)

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

Download the HEFCE2017_17e as PDF (137 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17e as MS Word (200 KB)

Annex F: Residential and fundability status

Download the HEFCE2017_17f as PDF (623 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17f as MS Word (1,033 KB)

Annex G: Price groups

Download the HEFCE2017_17g as PDF (153 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17g as MS Word (261 KB)

Annex H: Mode of study

Download the HEFCE2017_17h as PDF (248 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17h as MS Word (248 KB)

Annex I: Level of study

Download the HEFCE2017_17i as PDF (132 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17i as MS Word (224 KB)

Annex J: Long years of instance

Download the HEFCE2017_17j as PDF (132 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17j as MS Word (198 KB)

Annex K: Year abroad categories in Table 4

Download the HEFCE2017_17k as PDF (229 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17k as MS Word (293 KB)

Annex L: Pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health courses including guidance for Tables 7a, 7b and 7c

Download the HEFCE2017_17l as PDF (396 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17l as MS Word (687 KB)

Annex M: List of abbreviations

Download the HEFCE2017_17m as PDF (100 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17m as MS Word (209 KB)

Section 3: HESES17 Appendices

Download the HEFCE2017_17S3 as PDF (349 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17S3 as MS Word (357 KB)

Appendix 1: Downloading and submitting HESES17

Download the HEFCE2017_17_1 as PDF (119 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17_1 as MS Word (211 KB) 

Appendix 2: Validation checks on HESES17 data

Download the HEFCE2017_17_2 as PDF (214 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17_2 as MS Word (269 KB)

Appendix 3: Credibility checks on HESES17 data

Download the HEFCE2017_17_3 as PDF (198 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17_3 as MS Word (273 KB) 

Appendix 4: Guidance on the funding modelling worksheets

Download the HEFCE2017_17_4 as PDF (131 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_17_4 as MS Word (209 KB) 

Sample tables

Download the HESES17 sample tables as MS Excel Spreadsheet (2,506 KB) 

Date: 15 September 2017

Ref: 2017/17

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Funding

Enquiries should be directed to: