The DLHE survey has been used in higher education institutions (HEIs) in its current form since 2002-03. It was known previously as the First Destination Survey.
Individual HEIs administer their own surveys, using materials provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The results are published on the Unistats web-site and from September 2012 will be included in the Key Information Set.
Students studying on courses in further education colleges (FECs), which are franchised from HEIs, are already included in the DLHE survey. But the survey now includes directly funded HE students at FECs. These results will form part of FECs' wider information set published on the Unistats web-site, and will be included in the Key Information Set from September 2012.
By including these students, we aim to gain a more complete picture and gather valuable information that can be used for research purposes. We share the data with FECs to help them understand the destinations of their leavers better.
The International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate) undertakes the DLHE centrally for FECs. This is because there are relatively small numbers of students studying directly funded HE courses in FECs, and it would be overly burdensome for colleges to run the DLHE. As with the HEI surveys, the agency uses the same questions to ensure direct data comparison.
The LDLHE survey asks graduates and postgraduates about their working life and experience three and a half years after they leave their studies. The LDLHE tells us about the sorts of jobs these people are in, whether they would study the same subject again, and the salaries they earn.
HESA published a report on the key findings of the LDLHE which confirmed the high degree of correlation between the outcomes of the DLHE (which takes place six months after graduation) and the LDLHE (which takes place three and a half years after graduation). We are, therefore, confident that we are providing students with reliable information to help them make informed decisions about what and where to study.
We acknowledge that strong concerns were raised in the consultation on public information about HE about the coverage and applicability of the DLHE survey. The DLHE has recently been reviewed and this process was overseen by a review group including representatives of HESA's statutory customers (HE funding bodies and government departments) and sector representatives.
As a result of this work, HESA is planning to enhance the DLHE by asking all leavers in employment about salary, so that more detailed data can be published. This will have the benefit of increasing both the data and their reliability for students on a subject of great importance to them. This will be implemented for the 2012 DLHE survey, in time to inform the first publication of the Key Information Sets (September 2012).
In the longer term, we are also in discussions with other government bodies about access to graduate earnings data. Use of these data would allow earnings to be reported much later after graduation than the six months used for DLHE.
More detail about the DLHE survey for directly funded HE in FECs, including the action that colleges need to take, is in HEFCE Circular letter 25/2008.
Further information is available from:
Page last updated 23 May 2012