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Students Definitions 2003/04

Coverage

Higher education (HE) students are those students on programmes of study for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework, i.e. courses leading to the Advanced Level of the General Certificate of Education (GCE A-levels), the Advanced Level of the Vocational Certificate of Education (VCE A-levels) or the Advanced Higher Grade and Higher Grade of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Advanced Highers/Highers).

The HESA Student Record contains information about individual enrolments, which, because a student can be enrolled on more than one programme of study, will exceed the number of students. Postdoctoral students are not included in the HESA Student Record.

The HESA standard registration population has been derived from the HESA Student Record and ensures that similar activity is counted in a similar way irrespective of when it occurs. The population splits the student experience into �years of programme of study�; the first year of which is deemed to start on the commencement date of the programme with second, and subsequent years, starting on, or near, the anniversary of that date. Registrations are counted once for each �year of programme of study�. Short course registrations are counted in the standard registration population regardless of whether they are active on the 1 December of the reporting period. However students who leave within 2 weeks of their start date, or anniversary of their start date, and are on a course of more than two weeks duration, are not included in the standard registration population. Dormant students, incoming visiting and exchange students from overseas and students studying for the whole of their programme of study outside of the UK are also excluded from this population.

The HESA session HE population has been derived from the HESA Individualised Student Record. It includes all higher education enrolments active at any point in the academic year 1 August 2003 to 31 July 2004 except:

  1. dormant students (those who have ceased studying but have not formally de-registered)
  2. incoming visiting and exchange students
  3. students studying for the whole of their programme of study outside of the UK.

Since 2000/01, incoming visiting and exchange students have been excluded from the session population due to the fact that there was an element of double-counting with both outgoing and incoming students being included in previous analyses.

The HESA qualifications obtained population is a count of student enrolments associated with the award of an HE qualification (excluding HE institutional credits) during the period 1 August 2003 to 31 July 2004 inclusive. This population includes qualifications obtained during the 2003/04 reporting year, which were returned to HESA by 10 November 2004.

Since 2000/01, the qualifications obtained population excludes qualifications awarded to incoming visiting and exchange students. This population also now includes awards from dormant status.

Rounding strategy

Due to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, HESA implements a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. These tabulations are derived from the HESA non-statutory populations and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:

  • 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
  • All other numbers are rounded to the nearest 5

So for example 3 is represented as 5, 22 is represented as 20, 3286 is represented as 3285 while 0, 20, 55, 3510 remain unchanged.

This rounding strategy is also applied to total figures; the consequence of which is that the sum of numbers in each row or column will rarely match the total shown precisely. Note that subject level data calculated by apportionment will also be rounded in accordance with this strategy.

Average values, proportions and FTE values prepared by HESA will not be affected by the above strategy, and will be calculated on precise raw numbers. However, percentages calculated on populations which contain 52 or fewer individuals will be suppressed and represented as '..' as will averages based on populations of 7 or less.

Full-time equivalent

Student full-time equivalent (FTE) data represents the institution's assessment of the full-time equivalence of the student during the reporting year 1 August 2003 to 31 July 2004. FTE data is based on the HESA session population.

Further education

Further education (FE) students are those students on programmes of study for which the level of instruction is equal to or below that of level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework, i.e. courses leading to the Advanced Level of the General Certificate of Education (GCE A-levels), the Advanced Level of the Vocational Certificate of Education (VCE A-levels) or the Advanced Higher Grade and Higher Grade of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA Advanced Highers/Highers).

Mode of study

(Applies to HESA populations except the qualifications obtained population)

Full-time students are those normally required to attend an institution for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year of programme of study, on thick or thin sandwich courses, and those on a study-related year out of their institution. During that time students are normally expected to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week.

Part-time students are those recorded as studying part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings only.

Other modes of study include those students writing-up theses, on sabbatical or on FE continuous delivery, except where these have been tabulated separately.

Writing-up students are those who are normally expected to submit a thesis to the institution for examination within a period of one calendar year (or 18 months in the case of part-time students) after the end of fee-paying enrolment.

(Applies to HESA qualifications obtained population)

Full-time students are those whose study was recorded as full-time (described as above), including sandwich students. Awards from dormant status and those writing-up theses are also included where a student�s mode of study was previously full-time.

Part-time students are those whose study was recorded as part-time, or studying full-time on courses lasting less than 24 weeks, on block release, or studying during the evenings. Awards from dormant status and those writing-up theses are also included where a student�s mode of study was previously part-time.

Level of study

The level of study is taken from the qualification aim of the student.

Postgraduate programmes of study are those leading to higher degrees, diplomas and certificates (including Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and professional qualifications) and usually require that entrants are already qualified to degree level (i.e. already qualified at level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework).

Higher degrees include doctorates, masters degrees and higher bachelors degrees.

In analyses where postgraduate level of study is disaggregated into postgraduate research and postgraduate taught, the following groupings are used:

Postgraduate research where the qualification aim is a research-based higher degree. These programmes of study include doctorates, masters, postgraduate bachelors degrees and postgraduate diplomas or certificates (not PGCE) studied mainly by research.

Postgraduate taught where the qualification aim is a taught higher degree. These programmes of study include doctorates, masters, postgraduate bachelors degrees and postgraduate diplomas or certificates studied not mainly by research including PGCE and professional qualifications.

Other postgraduate includes postgraduate diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), institutional postgraduate credits and no formal postgraduate qualifications.

Undergraduate programmes of study are first degrees with or without eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care or Veterinary statutory regulatory body, first degrees with qualified teacher status (QTS)/registration with the General Teaching Council (GTC), enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees, Foundation Degrees, diplomas in HE with eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care regulatory body, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at HE level, NVQ/SVQ levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level, professional qualifications at undergraduate level and other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including post-registration health and social care courses. Entrants to these programmes of study do not usually require an HE qualification.

First degree includes first degrees with or without eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care or Veterinary statutory regulatory body, first degrees with qualified teacher status (QTS)/registration with the General Teaching Council (GTC), enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees.

Other undergraduate includes qualification aims below degree level such as Foundation Degrees, diplomas in HE with eligibility to register to practice with a Health or Social Care regulatory body, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), foundation courses at HE level, NVQ/SVQ levels 4 and 5, post-degree diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level, professional qualifications at undergraduate level, other undergraduate diplomas and certificates including post registration health and social care courses, other formal HE qualifications of less than degree standard, institutional undergraduate credit and no formal undergraduate qualifications.

First year students

First year students are based on the HESA standard registration population who commenced their programme of study in the reporting period relevant to the data collection year.

Domicile

Domicile data is supplied to HESA in the form of postcodes (UK domiciled students) or country codes. Postcodes are mapped to counties, unitary authorities and UK nations following consultation with Geoplan Postcode Marketing. Countries are mapped to geographical regions following consultation with the Department for Education and Skills. Where no data is supplied about the student's domicile, fee eligibility is used to determine whether domicile is European Union, including the UK, or not.

UK domiciled students are those whose normal residence is in the UK, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Of those students who are not UK domiciled, other EU students are those whose normal residence is in countries which were European Union (EU) members as at 1 December of the reporting period. Non-EU students are those whose normal residence prior to commencing their programme of study was outside the EU.

Age

Age is as at 31 August 2003.

Highest Qualification on Entry

It should be noted that a student�s highest qualification on entry is not necessarily that which was required for entry to the programme of study. Categories used are:

Postgraduate qualifications (excluding PGCE) includes all postgraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates excluding the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).

PGCE - with and without QTS/GTC registration.

First degree of UK institution - plus undergraduate qualifications with QTS.

Other graduate and equivalent qualifications include graduate qualifications obtained outside the UK, GNVQ/GSVQ level 5, NVQ/SVQ level 5 plus any other qualifications at graduate level not listed above.

HE credits include Open University credits and credits from other UK HE institutions.

Other HE and professional qualifications include certificates and diplomas of education, Foundation Degrees, HNC or HND (including BTEC and SCOTVEC equivalents), diplomas in HE, GNVQ/GSVQ level 4, NVQ/SVQ level 4, professional qualifications, foundation courses at HE level and other HE qualifications of less than degree standard.

GCE A-level/A-level equivalent qualifications, SQA Highers and equivalent include any combination of these qualifications plus GNVQ/GSVQ level 3, NVQ/SVQ level 3 and BTEC and SCOTVEC National Certificate/Diploma (ONC/OND).

Access courses are those validated by an Authorised Validating Agency licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and other accredited and unaccredited courses.

GCSE/O-level qualifications only; SCE O grades and SQA Standard grades include any combination of these qualifications.

Other qualifications include Baccalaureate, foundation courses at FE level and any other qualifications not listed above.

No formal qualification held - the institution does not require the student to hold a qualification on entry or it is known that the student has no formal qualification.

Not known/sought - nothing is known about the student�s qualifications on entry to their programme of study.

Ethnicity

It is HESA�s intention to adopt national classifications where they exist and are appropriate. However, in this instance, there is no coding structure for ethnicity that is applicable throughout the UK, as variations to the Census 2001 ethnicity coding were adopted in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. To accommodate requirements for institutions in these regions to report locally to their devolved administrations, the coding frame has been revised.

Home domiciled students are required to report their ethnic origin and for the purpose of this field, this means those domiciled in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. However, HESA advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total student population.

The following entries have been grouped together and this may mean that the ethnicity groupings used in previous years may not now be comparable:

The ethnic category �White� includes the entries:
White (only available for continuing students who commenced their programme of study before 1 August 2001)
White � British
White � Irish
White � Scottish
Irish Traveller
Other White background

The ethnic category �Other (including mixed)� includes the entries:
Mixed - White and Black Caribbean
Mixed - White and Black African
Mixed - White and Asian
Other Mixed background
Other Ethnic background

Disability

The disability categories indicate the type of disability that a student has on the basis of their own self-assessment, and are consistent with those used by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). For continuing students, where the information is not already known, institutions have the option of recording the student�s disability as not sought. As a result, some institutions have not returned disability data for some of their students. In addition, students are not obliged to report a disability. HESA therefore advises that the figures reported in analyses are derived from a subset which may not be representative of the total student population.

Location of institution

The allocation of an institution to a geographical region is done by reference to the administrative centre of that institution. There may be students registered at institutions who are studying in regions other than that of the administrative centre of the institution.

The Open University is counted as a wholly English institution. The administrative centre is located in England, although The Open University teaches throughout the UK.

Classification of first degrees

The classification of an undergraduate degree indicates the qualification class that the student obtained. Certain qualifications obtained at first degree level are not subject to classification of award, notably medical and general degrees. These, together with ordinary degrees, have been included within the unclassified category. Third class honours, fourth class honours and the pass category have been aggregated. Lower second and undivided second class honours have been aggregated.

Expected length of programme

The expected length of programme is the length applicable to the programme of study as a whole even though particular students may have different lengths of study, e.g. because of direct entry into the second year. The length of time includes holiday time and will normally include time for examinations relating to this part of the study programme.

Subject of study and JACS codes

Background

The subject coding systems HESACODE and SCAS originally used respectively by HESA and by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), although broadly similar, were far from identical. Towards the end of the 1990s work was put in hand by the two Agencies to produce a common scheme, the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS). This came into use for the 2002 entry to HE through UCAS, and for the 2002/03 data collection by HESA. JACS and HESACODE, and the subject areas defined in terms of them, are similar in appearance and have much in common, but they are by no means identical. For this reason, and also because of the introduction of apportionment (see below), subject-based information published for years up to and including 2001/02 cannot easily be compared with that published for 2002/03 and, in the current volume, for 2003/04.

Specification of JACS

All JACS subject codes consist of a letter followed by three digits, the first of them non-zero (except the generic codes described below). The initial letter identifies the subject group, for example F for Physical Sciences. The initial letter and immediately following digit identify the principal subject, for example F5 Astronomy. F500 is a valid JACS code used where there is no need for a higher level of precision, but subjects can be identified more precisely using a second non-zero digit, for example F520 Space and Planetary Sciences, and, with even more precision, F521 Space Science and F522 Planetary Science. Often it is necessary to consider together all the codes, or all the student numbers, falling within a principal subject, and this is done by referring to it using just the first two characters, so F5 refers to all of Astronomy and to total numbers in it, by no means all of which will have code F500. Similarly, F52 refers to the whole of Space and Planetary Sciences. Full details of JACS can be found at www.hesa.ac.uk/jacs.

Programme codes

Student programmes often involve combinations of subjects, and so cannot be described by a single JACS code. Within the HESA student data collection, there are two mechanisms for dealing with this. First, JACS has been slightly extended to allow codes to be assigned to highly integrated programmes which cut across principal subjects. Where such a broadly-based programme falls within a single subject group, it can be coded as the group letter followed by three zeroes, for example F000 would code such a programme in Physical Sciences. This is known as a generic code, and is an extension of JACS for the purpose of coding complete student programmes; generic codes may not be used in any other way, for example for coding modules. Programmes which cut across subject groups are given the generic code Y000, which is equivalent to continuing to recognise the need for a �Combined� subject group. The second mechanism is designed to describe less integrated programmes of the kind often known as Joint Honours. The HESA record contains three qualification aim fields and a balance field which together make it possible to report the subject coverage of two subject balanced, two subject major/minor, and three subject balanced programmes.

Apportionment

Additionally, a new procedure of apportionment has been introduced. Under apportionment, each headcount is, where necessary, divided in a way that in broad-brush terms reflects the pattern of a split programme. This is analogous to the use of FTE calculations, but should not be confused with them, since the splits used for apportionment are conventional rather than data-based.

For split programmes not involving an initial teacher training (ITT) component, the apportionment algorithm is as follows:

  • 50%:50% for a balanced two-way split;
  • 66.667%:33.333% for a major/minor two-way split;
  • 33.333%:33.333%:33.333% for a balanced three-way split.

ITT students at undergraduate level who also have a specialism subject recorded (typically, secondary ITT students) are apportioned 50% to the �Education� subject area and the remaining 50% is further apportioned according to the algorithm for non-ITT students. Where no subject other than education is recorded, or where the student is on a PGCE course, apportionment is 100% to the �Education� subject area.

Subject areas

HESA has defined nineteen subject areas in terms of JACS codes for reporting information broken down by subject. The subject areas give a useful broad-brush picture, and are as consistent as is practicable with those previously defined in terms of HESACODE. The subject areas do not overlap, and cover the entire range of JACS Principal Subjects. Apart from the need to separate the �Mathematical sciences� and �Computer science� elements of Principal Subject G9, they are expressed entirely in terms of JACS Principal Subjects, and in many cases correspond closely to one or more JACS Subject Groups.

In response to requests from users of HESA data, the printed tables also show information for four supplementary subjects, three of which fall within single subject areas, and one, �Geography & environmental science�, cuts across two areas.

Finally, there is an interest in having information about teachers in training. Since this is best presented on a headcount basis rather than an apportioned basis, the figures are not directly comparable with the apportioned figures in the �Education� subject area, and are tabulated separately to reduce the risk of misinterpretation.

Subject areas JACS code
Medicine & dentistry A
Subjects allied to medicine B
Biological sciences C
Veterinary science D1/2
Agriculture & related subjects D0/3/4/5/6/7/9
Physical sciences F
Mathematical sciences G0/1/2/3/90/91/99
Computer science G4/5/6/7/92
Engineering & technology H, J
Architecture, building & planning K
Social studies L
Law M
Business & administrative studies N
Mass communications & documentation P
Languages Q, R, T
Historical & philosophical studies V
Creative arts & design W
Education X
Combined Y
Supplementary subjects
Psychology C8
Geography & environmental science F8, L7
Economics & politics L1/2
English Q3

Apportionment at principal subject level

Although subject areas provide the usual broad-brush framework for presenting information, a more detailed breakdown to the 159 JACS principal subjects is used in some tables. Again, a process of apportionment is necessary, and the procedure is consistent with that used for subject areas, as follows.

For split programmes not involving an initial teacher training (ITT) component, the apportionment algorithm is as follows:

  • 50%:50% for a balanced two-way split;
  • 66.667%:33.333% for a major/minor two-way split;
  • 33.333%:33.333%:33.333% for a balanced three-way split.

ITT students at undergraduate level who also have a specialism subject recorded (typically, secondary ITT students) are apportioned 50% to the �X1 Training Teachers� principal subject and the remaining 50% is further apportioned according to the algorithm for non-ITT students. Where no subject other than education is recorded, or where the student is on a PGCE course, apportionment is 100% to the �X1 Training Teachers� principal subject.

Copyright � Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2005