You need cookies enabled

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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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.


You need cookies enabled
Further education and sixth form colleges should upload returns to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 13 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 2017-18
  • together with the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) supplied to the Education and Skills Funding Agency, 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 higher education providers we fund.

3. This document provides the following.

  1. An introduction to the Higher Education in Further Education: Students Survey 2017-18 (HEIFES17) and how we use it to inform our funding allocations.
  2. Guidance notes for completing the HEIFES17 survey (Section 1).
  3. Definitions used in the HEIFES17 survey (Section 2).
  4. Appendices which provide detailed technical information to support the HEIFES17 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 HEIFES16 (paragraph 29-44 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. 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 HEIFES17 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 HEIFES 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. HEIFES17 should be completed by all further education and sixth form colleges 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 13 November 2017.
  2. We will email HEIFES contacts at institutions with any data verification queries by 20 November 2017. An initial response will be required from institutions within five working days. Further rounds of queries may be necessary.
  3. By 8 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 college.

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

  • Paragraph 1 of Annex B originally referred in error to 'the HEIFES population for 2016-17'. This has been corrected to 'the HEIFES population for 2017-18'.



Main report and annexes

Download the HEFCE2017_18 as PDF (5,149 KB)

Download the HEFCE2017_18 as MS Word (8,219 KB)

Summary of changes and clarifications since HEIFES16

Download the HEFCE2017_18changes as PDF (120 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18changes as MS Word (206 KB)

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

Download the HEFCE2017_18S1 as PDF (1,309 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18S1 as MS Word (3,753 KB) 

Section 2: Funding rules and definitions

Download the HEFCE2017_18S2 as PDF (2,363 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18S2 as MS Word (3,306 KB)

Annex A: Defining the HEIFES student population

Download the HEFCE2017_18a as PDF (406 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18a as MS Word (1,032 KB) 

Annex B: Recognised higher education courses

Download the HEFCE2017_18b as PDF (135 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18b as MS Word (188 KB)

Annex C: Counting student activity

Download the HEFCE2017_18c as PDF (337 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18c as MS Word (619 KB) 

Annex D: Completion and non-completion

Download the HEFCE2017_18d as PDF (176 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18d as MS Word (356 KB)

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

Download the HEFCE2017_18e as PDF (134 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18e as MS Word (212 KB)

Annex F: Residential and fundability status

Download the HEFCE2017_18f as PDF (302 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18f as MS Word (994 KB)

Annex G: Price groups

Download the HEFCE2017_18g as PDF (147 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18g as MS Word (260 KB)

Annex H: Mode of study

Download the HEFCE2017_18h as PDF (238 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18h as MS Word (259 KB)

Annex I: Level of study

Download the HEFCE2017_18i as PDF (129 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18i as MS Word (209 KB)

Annex J: Long years of course

Download the HEFCE2017_18j as PDF (125 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18j as MS Word (204 KB)

Annex K: Year abroad categories in Table 4

Download the HEFCE2017_18k as PDF (230 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18k as MS Word (401 KB)

Annex L: Nursing, midwifery and allied health for Tables 7a, 7b and 7c

Download the HEFCE2017_18l as PDF (201 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18l as MS Word (530 KB)

Annex M: List of abbreviations

Download the HEFCE2017_18m as PDF (99 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18m as MS Word (198 KB)

Section 3: Appendices

Download the HEFCE2017_18S3 as PDF (346 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18S3 as MS Word (350 KB) 

Appendix 1: Downloading and submitting HEIFES17

Download the HEFCE2017_18_1 as PDF (118 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18_1 as MS Word (198 KB)

Appendix 2: Validation checks of HEIFES17 data

Download the HEFCE2017_18_2 as PDF (216 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18_2 as MS Word (264 KB)

Appendix 3: Credibility checks on HEIFES17 data

Download the HEFCE2017_18_3 as PDF (197 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18_3 as MS Word (262 KB)

Appendix 4: Guidance on the funding modelling worksheets 1-3

Download the HEFCE2017_18_4 as PDF (213 KB) Download the HEFCE2017_18_4 as MS Word (191 KB)

Sample tables

Download the HEIFES17 sample tables as MS Excel Spreadsheet (3,464 KB)

Date: 15 September 2017

Ref: 2017/18

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Funding

Enquiries should be directed to: