View statistics online

Student Definitions 2007/08

Coverage

In general, the HESA Student Record is collected in respect of all students registered at a reporting institution who follow courses that lead to the award of a qualification(s) or institutional credit, excluding those registered as studying wholly overseas. The data specification of the record uses the term 'instance' to describe a student's engagement with the institution, which, because a student can have more than one instance of engagement, will exceed the number of students. Unless stated otherwise, Student data is based on an instance of engagement. Postdoctoral students are not included in the HESA Student Record.

The reporting period for the 2007/08 HESA Student Record is August 2007 to 31 July 2008.

Higher education (HE) students for the purpose of HESA's data collection are those students on courses for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (e.g. courses at the level of Certificate of HE and above).

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 NQF.

The HESA session population has been derived from the HESA Student Record. It includes all higher education and further education student instances active at a reporting institution at any point in the reporting period 1 August to 31 July except:

  1. dormant students (those who have ceased studying but have not formally de-registered)
  2. incoming visiting and exchange students
  3. students where the whole of the programme of study is outside of the UK, and from 2007/08:
  4. students on sabbatical.

Incoming visiting and exchange students are excluded from the session population in order to avoid an element of double-counting with both outgoing and incoming students being included.

The HESA session population forms the basis for counts of full-time equivalent (FTE) student instances.

The HESA standard registration population has been derived from the HESA Student Record, from all higher education and further education student instances active at a reporting institution in the reporting period 1 August to 31 July, 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 study'; the first year of which is deemed to start on the commencement date of the student instance with second, and subsequent years, starting on, or near, the anniversary of that date. Student instances are counted once for each ‘year of study’. Short course registrations are counted in the standard registration population regardless of whether they are active on 1 December of the reporting period. However students who leave within two weeks of their instance 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.

Also excluded from this population are:

  1. dormant students (those who have ceased studying but have not formally de-registered)
  2. incoming visiting and exchange students
  3. students where the whole of the programme of study is outside of the UK, and from 2007/08:
  4. students on sabbatical, and
  5. writing-up students.

The HESA standard registration population forms the basis for most counts of first year and continuing student instances.

The HESA qualifications obtained population is a count of student instances associated with the award of an HE qualification (excluding HE institutional credits) during the HESA reporting period 1 August 2007 to 31 July, which were returned to HESA by 31 October 2008. This includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status.

Incoming visiting and exchange students are excluded from this population.

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 populations1 and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest multiple of 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:

  • 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
  • All other numbers are rounded to the nearest multiple of 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 rarely matches 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 are not usually affected by the above strategy, and are 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 fewer.

Full-time equivalent

Full-time equivalent (FTE) data represents the institution's assessment of the full-time equivalence of the student instance during the reporting year 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2008.

FTE data is based on the HESA session population, and includes writing-up students.

Mode of study

(Applicable to HESA populations except the qualifications obtained population)

Full-time and sandwich/Full-time students are those normally required to attend an institution for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year 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 includes those students on FE continuous delivery.

Writing-up students are those who are normally expected to submit a thesis to the institution for examination, have completed the work of their course and are not making significant demands on institutional resources.

(Applicable to HESA qualifications obtained population)

Full-time students are those whose study was recorded as full-time (as described as above), and also includes awards from dormant and writing-up status where the student’s mode of study was previously full-time.

Part-time students are those whose study was recorded as part-time (as described above), and also includes awards from dormant and writing-up status where the student’s mode of study was previously part-time, and awards given to those on sabbatical.

Qualification aim/Level of study

Qualification aim/Level of study is taken from the course aim of the student.

HESA classifies courses according to a framework which aligns with the framework for HE qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) (of which the framework for qualifications of HE institutions in Scotland is a constituent part) and the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and Bologna frameworks. Details are available at www.hesa.ac.uk/C07051/a/COURSEAIM. It includes level M for taught masters degrees, and level H for honours degrees.

Postgraduate courses are those leading to higher degrees, diplomas and certificates (including Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE at level M) and professional qualifications) which usually require a first degree as an entry qualification (i.e. already qualified at level H).

Higher degree (research) includes doctorate and masters degrees studied primarily through research.

Higher degree (taught) includes doctorate and masters degrees not studied primarily through research, and postgraduate bachelors degrees at level M.

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

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

Postgraduate research includes doctorate and masters degrees and postgraduate diplomas or certificates (not PGCE at level M) studied primarily through research.

Postgraduate taught includes doctorate and masters degrees, postgraduate bachelors degrees at level M and postgraduate diplomas or certificates not studied primarily through research, including PGCE at level M (unless shown separately) and professional qualifications.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education are those PGCE qualifications which are pitched at level M.

Undergraduate courses are programmes of study at level H, I, J and C including, but not limited to, first degrees (including 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), Postgraduate bachelors degrees at level H, enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees, Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE at level H), 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, National qualifications framework 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 (including 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.

First degree equivalent includes all qualification aims at level H or level I except first degrees, including, but not limited to, professional qualifications, Graduate certificates and diplomas, and post-registrations health and social care qualifications.

Sub-degree includes all qualification aims at level J and C, including, but not limited to foundation degrees, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) and Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE).

Other undergraduate includes qualification aims equivalent to and below first degree level, including, but not limited to, PGCE at level H (unless shown separately), foundation degrees (unless shown separately), diplomas in HE (including those 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.

Professional Graduate Certificate in Education are those PGCE qualifications which are pitched at level H.

Foundation degrees (e.g. FdA, FdSc) were introduced to provide vocational HE qualifications at level I.

Further education programmes of study includes Diplomas, Certificates and NVQ/SVQs at level 3 and below, A/AS levels, Advanced Highers/Highers (Scotland), GCSEs, Intermediates (Scotland), HE Access courses, Welsh for Adults and other qualifications below HE level.

Qualification obtained

Qualification obtained is taken from the qualification awarded to the student during the reporting year, usually at the end of an instance. The qualification awarded may be different to the student's qualification aim, and the student may be awarded more than one qualification during the reporting year. The groupings are as Qualification aim/Level of study.

Qualification obtained is based on the HESA Qualification obtained population and therefore also includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status.

Classification of first degrees

The classification of a first degree indicates the qualification class 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 and aegrotat qualifications have been included within Unclassified. Third class honours, fourth class honours and the pass have been aggregated as Third class/pass. Lower second and undivided second class honours have been aggregated as Lower second class.

Initial teacher training (ITT)

Information about ITT students is presented as a count of instances, and tabulated separately in this publication to reduce the risk of misinterpretation.

ITT students are based on the 'Standard registration population' and includes instances that are: initial or pre-service teacher training courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status or registration as a school teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland; other initial teacher training courses not leading to Qualified Teacher Status nor to registration as a school teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland; Teacher Development Agency (TDA) funded flexible provision (ITT).

ITT qualifiers includes qualifications obtained from the categories of ITT instances listed above, and as it is based on the 'Qualifications obtained population' includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status.

First year students

First year students are based on the HESA standard registration population, and are those who commenced their instance 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 using the National Statistics Postcode Directory. Countries are mapped to geographical regions following consultation with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). Where no data is supplied about the student's domicile, fee eligibility is used to assign to either UK region unknown or Non-European Union unknown.

UK domiciled students are those whose normal residence is in the UK, and for the purposes of this publication include Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. (Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU.)

(Other) European Union (EU) students are those whose normal residence is in countries which were European Union (EU) members as at 1 December of the reporting period. Where EU countries are shown separately, from 2007/08, individual country figures exclude those domiciled in the country's overseas territories (e.g. Netherlands Antilles, French Guiana). These figures are included in European Union not otherwise specified.

Non-European Union students are those whose normal residence prior to commencing their programme of study was outside the EU. Where Non-EU countries are shown separately, individual country figures exclude the country's overseas territories (e.g. Svalbard, Cook Islands). These figures are included in the Other countries not listed category of the geographic area in which they lie.

Age

Age is as at 31 August 2007.

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 includes all higher degrees, postgraduate diplomas and certificates (excluding Postgraduate and Professional Graduate Certificates in Education (PGCE at levels M and H)) and postgraduate equivalent qualifications.

PGCE (level M and level H) with and without QTS/GTC registration.

First degree of UK institution plus undergraduate qualifications with QTS.

Other graduate and equivalent qualifications includes graduate qualifications obtained outside the UK, GNVQ/GSVQ level 5, NVQ/SVQ level 5 and other graduate equivalent qualifications not already specified.

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

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

GCE A level/A level equivalent qualifications, SQA Highers and equivalent includes any combination of these qualifications plus GNVQ/GSVQ level 3, NVQ/SVQ level 3, ONC and OND (BTEC and SQA equivalents).

Access courses include those Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised, those not QAA recognised and other accredited and unaccredited Access courses.

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

Other qualifications includes foundation courses at FE level, Baccalaureate, other non-advanced qualifications, NVQ/SVQ level 2, diplomas in Foundation Studies, Advanced Modern Apprenticeships, and other non-UK qualifications (level not known).

No formal qualification held includes Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (APEL/APL), mature students admitted on basis of previous experience/institution's own entrance examination, 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

Students domiciled in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are required to report their ethnic origin. However, HESA advises that the figures reported in analyses may not be representative of the total student population because ethnic origin information is only required from this subset. (This subset also excludes certain FE, Incoming visiting and exchange, and Dormant status students.)

It is HESA’s intention to adopt national classifications where they exist and are appropriate. The use of Census 2001 ethnicity coding in the Student Record is an example of this practice. The coding frame is that recommended by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for UK-wide data collection. However, there are variations to the Census 2001 ethnicity coding adopted in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The ethnic category groupings from 2007/08:

White includes:
White
Irish Traveller.

Other (including mixed) includes:
Mixed - White and Black Caribbean
Mixed - White and Black African
Mixed - White and Asian
Other mixed background
Other ethnic background.

Not known includes:
Not known
Information refused.

Disability

The disability categories indicate the type of disability that a student has on the basis of their own self-assessment. 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.

Although The Open University teaches throughout the UK, its administrative centre is located in South East England, and except where shown separately, is counted as a wholly English institution.

Expected length of programme

The expected length of programme is an indication of the normal elapsed time from the commencement of study to the completion of the instance as a whole, even if particular student instances have different lengths of study, e.g. because of direct entry into the second year. The length study time includes holiday time and will normally include time for examinations.

Subject of study and JACS codes

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.

The first review of a selection of subject areas resulted in the implementation of a revision of the JACS subject codes for 2007/08. The full listing of JACS2 can be found at www.hesa.ac.uk/jacs2.

Course codes

Student courses 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 courses which cut across principal subjects. Where such a broadly-based course 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 course in Physical sciences. This is known as a generic code, and is an extension of JACS for the purpose of coding complete student courses; generic codes may not be used in any other way, for example for coding modules. Courses 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 courses of the kind often known as Joint Honours. The HESA Student record allows the reporting of up to three subject descriptors for each course and a proportion of time allocated for each subject studied on a course.

Apportionment

Additionally, a procedure of apportionment is used. Under apportionment, each student instance is, where necessary, divided in a way that in broad-brush terms reflects the pattern of a split course. This is analogous to the use of FTE calculations (with a variation for initial teacher training (ITT) students).

From 2007/08, for split courses not involving an ITT component, institutions assign their own percentages based on a broad assessment of the relative contribution of subjects to a course, rather than detailed analysis of the contributions of subjects to individual students' courses of study. It is therefore expected that most institutions will apply the same percentages to all courses and only vary this where there is a substantially different subject split. For institutions in England, Northern Ireland and Wales the listed standard percentages are recommended, and in Scotland obligatory:

  • Balanced 50% for each of the two subjects
  • Major - Minor 67% and 33%
  • Triple 34%, 33% and 33%.

The sum of the proportion allocated to each subject studied on a course must equal 100.

ITT students at undergraduate level who also have specialism subjects recorded (typically, secondary ITT students) are apportioned 50% to the ‘Education’ subject area and the remaining 50% is further assigned according to the percentages recommended above. 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 to present a useful broad-brush picture. The subject areas do not overlap, and cover the entire range of JACS Principal Subjects. Apart from the need to separate the ‘Mathematical science’ and ‘Computer science’ elements of Principal Subject G0 and G9, they are expressed entirely in terms of JACS Principal Subjects, and correspond closely to 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', cuts across the two areas of 'Physical sciences' and 'Social studies'.

Since Initial teacher training data is presented on a count of instance 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 G00/01/1/2/3/90/91
Computer science G02/4/5/6/7/92
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 2 F8, L7
Economics & politics L1/2
English Q3

Apportionment at principal subject level

Although subject areas provide a broad-brush framework for presenting information, a more detailed breakdown to 162 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 courses not involving an initial teacher training (ITT) component, the apportionment algorithm is as reported by the institution.

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.


Aggregate Record for Students Studying Wholly Overseas 2007/08

This publication also includes summary headcount tables of the Aggregate record for students studying wholly overseas.

Definitions

Coverage

In parallel with introduction of the new Student Record in 2007/08, a separate summary aggregate return collects data about all students registered with UK higher education institutions (HEI) but studying wholly overseas. Return of such students in the Student Record was previously optional. Students studying wholly outside the UK (to date) are now required to be included in the Aggregate record for students studying wholly overseas, unless they are funded (e.g. Crown servants overseas and the Services), or considered fundable under Funding Council Early Statistics rules.

Students who commence their studies outside the UK and subsequently come to continue their studies within the UK are included in the Aggregate record up until the point at which they enter the UK, when a full individualised record is required. Students who spend a sandwich, language or other year abroad as part of their overall course, which is otherwise UK based, are not included in the Aggregate record.

Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are counted as overseas within the Aggregate record for Students studying wholly overseas.

Location of provision

Within the European Union includes students whose location of study country was a European Union (EU) member state. Overseas territories of EU member states (e.g. Netherlands Antilles and French Guiana) are included in this category.

Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, for the purposes of these tables, are counted as within the European Union. (Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU).

Outside the European Union includes students whose location of study country was outside the EU.

Where location of study countries are shown separately, individual country figures exclude the country's overseas territories.

Level of study

Level of study is taken from the level of provision and describes the qualification that will be obtained as a result of successful completion of studies. It is based on the coding frame used for course aim in the Student record.

Postgraduate research includes research doctorate and research masters degrees.

Postgraduate taught includes taught doctorate and taught masters degrees.

First degree includes bachelors degrees with honours and ordinary bachelors degrees.

Other undergraduate includes diplomas and certificates in HE.

Further education includes qualifications at FE level.

Type of provision

Type of provision defines the arrangements under which overseas programmes are provided.

Students registered at a UK higher education institution

Overseas campus of reporting institution includes those studying at a campus set up as a branch campus of the parent institution, and as such it is seen as no different from any other campus of the institution.

Distance, flexible or distributed learning denotes educational provision leading to an award of an awarding institution delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through means which generally do not require the student to attend particular classes or events at particular times and particular locations. (There are a small number of distance learning students studying outside the UK who are funded (e.g. Crown servants overseas and the Services). These student are returned in the Student record and not included in the Aggregate overseas record.)

Other arrangement including collaborative provision denotes provision leading to an award of an awarding institution delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through an arrangement with a partner organisation. Collaborative provision, sometimes described as 'franchised' provision includes consortia and joint award arrangements.

Students studying for an award of a UK higher education institution

Students studying for an award of a UK HEI are not registered students of the reporting institution, but are studying for an award of the reporting institution, and are registered at an Overseas partner organisation or via some Other arrangement.

  1. Non-statutory populations omit any contribution from individuals who have notified HESA of their wish to be excluded in circumstances such as the publication of the present volume where inclusion is not defined as a requirement by the bodies whose statutory powers underpin HESA data collections. back

  2. From 2007/08 the previous supplementary subjects category 'Geograpy & environmental science' changed to 'Geography'. This was a result of the JACS2 review, reclassifying F800 'Physical and terrestrial geographical and environmental sciences' to F800 'Physical geographical sciences' and creating the new code F750 'Environmental sciences' under the F700 'Science of aquatic and terrestrial environments' principal subject area. back

© Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2009.