Higher Education Statistics Agency

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative information about higher education in the United Kingdom.

Higher Education Statistics Agency
Legal statusCompany limited by guarantee and Charity
PurposeHigher education statistics in the UK
  • Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ
Region served
Chief Executive
Paul Clark
Main organ
Board of Directors
AffiliationsUniversities UK, GuildHE

HESA was set up by agreement between the relevant government departments, the higher education funding councils and the universities and colleges in 1993, following the White Paper “Higher Education: a new framework”, which called for more coherence in HE statistics, and the 1992 Higher and Further Education Acts, which established an integrated higher education system throughout the United Kingdom. In 2018 HESA became the Designated Data Body for higher education in England under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.

HESA is a company limited by guarantee whose members are Universities UK and GuildHE.

Data Collections

HESA collects data from all publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK as well as a small number of private providers. The annual data collection streams are:

  • Student data collection - information about students, courses and qualifications at HEIs
  • AP Student data collection - information about students, courses and qualifications at Alternative Providers of higher education
  • Staff data collection - information about staff employed by HEIs
  • Finance record - income and expenditure of HEIs
  • Graduate Outcomes - survey of graduate activities 15 months after leaving higher education
  • Aggregate offshore record - count of students studying wholly overseas for UK HE qualifications
  • HE Business and Community Interaction survey - information about interactions between HEIs and business and the wider community
  • Estates management record - buildings, estates and environmental information about HEIs
  • Initial Teacher Training (ITT) record
  • Unistats collection
  • Provider Profile collection
  • Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education - survey of graduate activities six months after leaving HE (2002/03 to 2016/17)

Statistical Outputs

HESA publishes statistics and analyses based on the data it collects:

  • Statistical Bulletins - Official Statistics outputs summarising each data stream
  • Annual open data releases - detailed statistical tables
  • Performance Indicators - comparative data on the performance of HEIs in Widening participation, student retention, learning and teaching outcomes, research output and employment of graduates

Jisc acts as a data processor for HESA to provide data extracts for research and publication by external users such as League tables of British universities.

See also

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