Unistats and Key Information Sets

Unistats is the official site to search for, and compare, data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The site draws together comparable information on those areas that students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study.

The items that students thought were most useful have been included in a Key Information Set (KIS). This is published on the ‘Overview’ tab for each course and also embedded in the course pages of institutional web-sites.

The site draws on the following official data about higher education courses:

  • student satisfaction from the National Student Survey
  • student destinations on finishing their course from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey
  • how the course is taught and study patterns
  • how the course is assessed
  • course accreditation
  • course costs (such as tuition fees and accommodation).

The data is provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, HESA, the Data Service, universities and colleges and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey). 

Key Information Sets

The Key Information Sets (KIS) provide comparable sets of information about full or part-time undergraduate courses. They contain the items of information that prospective students have identified as most important to inform their decisions.

The information is published on Unistats.All institutions also make this information available via a small snippet of content or ‘widget’ through the course pages on their web-sites.

This is the first time this kind of data has been brought together in this way, providing information to students in a format that is useful to them, in the places they want to find it.

More information on the KIS research and development

What courses does Unistats and the KIS cover?

  • All full-time and part-time undergraduate courses planned for 2013-14 in institutions which subscribe to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
  • Undergraduate programmes taught through further education colleges in England and Wales (this applies to colleges funded indirectly through a higher education institution and for courses HEFCE funds directly).

The only exceptions are short courses (one year full-time equivalent or less), postgraduate courses, those delivered wholly overseas, and closed courses. 


A toolkit of materials is available for teachers, careers advisers, and anyone involved in supporting prospective university students to decide what and where to study.

This contains information and communications resources to help raise awareness of the new Unistats web-site and the KIS.

Accessing the data

Anyone who wants to access the site’s data can do so in one of two ways:

Previous publications

What the KIS contains

Much of the KIS information already exists in a national and comparable form, but there are several items of information that do not currently exist in that form and are being supplied by universities and colleges (highlighted in the table below).

Information items for publication in the KIS

Source of this information

Level of this information

For the September 2013 KIS, information will relate to:


Results from the following NSS questions: 

  • Staff are good at explaining things
  • Staff have made the subject interesting
  • Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course
  • I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies
  • Feedback on my work has been prompt
  • Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand
  • The library resources are good enough for my needs
  • I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to

HEFCE to draw from the NSS

Course level or aggregated

2013 NSS results

Proportion of time spent in various learning and teaching activities – by year/stage of study, with a link to further detail

Institution to provide to HEFCE

Course level

Typical student path

Proportion  of summative assessment by method – by year/stage of study

Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies that recognise this course, details of the type of recognition with a link to further detail

Planned for academic year 2014-15

Costs and financial support

Institution owned/sponsored accommodation: average annual costs – upper and lower quartiles, and number of units (to which students can reasonably expect to have access) 

Private rental accommodation: average annual costs – upper and lower quartiles

Institution to provide to HEFCE

Institutional level

Academic year 2013-14

Financial support available from the institution: whether it offers a fee waiver; means-tested support; non means-tested support; National Scholarship Programme; and a link to more detailed information

Institution to provide to HEFCE, for courses that do not recruit through UCAS. For courses recruiting through UCAS data will be sourced from UCAS

Course level

Planned for academic year 2014-15

Average fees (excluding fee waivers) per year by country of UK domicile  

Institution to provide to HEFCE, for courses that do not recruit through UCAS. For courses recruiting through UCAS data will be sourced from UCAS

Course level

Planned for academic year 2014-15

Employment and salary information

The destinations of graduates six months after completing their course – comprising working, studying, working and studying, unemployed, and not available for work


HEFCE to draw six-month figures from the Destinations of Leavers from HE (DLHE) survey and 40-month figures from the Longitudinal DLHE survey

Course level or aggregated

2010-11 DLHE and 2010 Longitudinal DLHE results


Of those in employment, the proportion in managerial/professional jobs six months after graduation.

Salary data for those in full-time employment:

  • upper quartile, median and lower quartile six months after graduation from the course at the institution displaying the KIS
  • regionally adjusted upper quartile, median and lower quartile for the subject across all institutions six months after graduation
  • regionally adjusted upper quartile, median and lower quartile for the subject across all institutions at 40 months after graduation

Students’ union

Additional question to be added regarding satisfaction with the SU

HEFCE to draw from the NSS

Institutional level

2013 NSS results

‌Institutions’ web pages

To allow prospective students to discover the KIS in context, universities and colleges embed a small advert or ‘widget’ into their course web pages.

This highlights key information about that course and provides a direct link to the full list of key information on the Unistats web-site.

This is a graphic illustrating the widget.

The widget displays up to ten areas of information on a ‘rolling’ basis. This covers:

  • Are staff good at explaining things?
  • Have staff made the subject more interesting?
  • Overall satisfaction
  • Percentage at work or study after six months
  • Professional accreditation
  • Satisfaction with the support and guidance
  • Percentage in professional and managerial roles after six months
  • Accommodation costs
  • Percentage of scheduled learning and teaching activities
  • Percentage of coursework


We working with the other UK funding bodies, UUK, GuildHE and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to deliver the KIS.

We receive guidance from the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (HEPISG) and their Sub-Group. 

The quality of the information

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) will consider the quality of the information as part of its broader commitment to ensure universities and colleges provide information for their intended audiences.

The QAA has set out the standards of academic quality it expects universities and colleges to deliver in the UK Quality Code. Part C of this code covers providing information about higher education programmes.

The QAA will review the quality of information in the KIS as part of its process of institutional review.

Evaluation and review 

An early evaluation will seek to determine the practical success of the Unistats/KIS in its early stages.  It will cover three distinct strands:

  • the user experience of the KIS widget, the KIS and the new Unistats website
  • the process from HE providers’ perspectives
  • a data audit. 

In the coming months, we will work with our UK funding partners and HEPISG members and observers to develop plans for a major review of the provision of information about HE. 

This will include the ten-year review of the NSS, including an analysis of the results over the period.  Using the student-lifecycle framework, the review is likely to comprise multiple strands, of which a review of Unistats and the KIS will form part. 

We will also work with HESA to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education within the review.

The aim will be to ensure that:

  • there is a coherent framework within which the different elements of the provision of information reside
  • there is a sound evidence base for need
  • they are fit for purpose in terms of proportionality and technological developments. 

It will also provide an opportunity for reflection on the cost to the public purse, and the role of market providers in providing independent, contextualised and robust comparable information. 

The intention is also, where possible, to provide a framework which is consistent across the UK.

Page last updated 5 November 2013

Share this: