Data collection

Data collection

Student and leaver surveys

Your contact details may be passed to survey contractors to carry out the National Student Survey (NSS) and surveys of student finances, on behalf of some of the organisations listed below under Purpose 1. These organisations and their contractors will use your details only for that purpose, and will then delete them.

About six months after you graduate, we will contact you to ask you to fill in the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) "Destinations of Leavers from HE" questionnaire. You may also be contacted as part of an audit to check that we have undertaken this survey properly. We will not give your contact details to HESA.

You may also be included in longitudinal surveys of leavers in the years after you graduate. If so, we will pass your contact details to the organisation that has been contracted to carry out that survey. That organisation will use your details only for that purpose, and will then delete them. If you do not want to take part in any of these surveys, please let us know.


Submission of your information to HESA

Every year we will send some of the information we hold about you to HESA ("your HESA information").

HESA collects, and is responsible for, the database in which your HESA information is stored. HESA uses this information in its own right, for example to publish statistics about students in higher education. HESA may link information we have provided to other related datasets such as UCAS, NSS, Individual Learner Record and Student Loan Company data ("linked data"). All uses of your HESA information and linked data must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.

HESA is a registered charity and operates on a not-for-profit basis. It may charge other organisations to whom it provides services and information.


Sensitive information

If you give us information about your disability status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or religion these may be included in your HESA information and used to assist with monitoring equality of opportunity and eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act.

Some other sensitive information is used to enable research into the provision of fair access to higher education, for example information as to whether you are a care leaver.

If you are enrolled at a higher education institution in England regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England your HESA information will include details of any financial support you may receive from us.

Your sensitive information will not be used to make decisions about you.  Your HESA informantion including linked data is used for four broad purposes:

Purpose 1 - Public functions

Education statistics and data

Your HESA information is used by some organisations to help carry out public functions connected with education in the UK. These organisations are data controllers in common of your HESA information under the terms of the Data Protection Act. Such organisations include:

  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Welsh Government
  • Scottish Government
  • Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
  • Department for Education
  • Research Councils
  • Skills Funding Agency
  • The National College for Teaching and Leadership
  • The National Health Service (including Health Education England)
  • General Medical Council
  • Office For Fair Access
  • The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

and any successor bodies. These organisations may link your HESA information with other information they or other organisations hold. For example the Department for Education and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills link your HESA information to the National Pupil Database and the Individual Learner Record.  Your HESA information is linked to data from the Student Loan Company by HE Funding Councils. Your HESA information may also be linked to tax or employment information.

Linked data is used for research into education and its outcomes.

Other uses

Your HESA information may also be used by some organisations to help carry out public functions that are not connected with education. Such uses may include the following:

  • Measurement of population levels and migration by the Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
  • Monitoring of public expenditure by the National Audit Office
  • Monitoring of the accuracy of electoral registers by Electoral Registration Officials.

Purpose 2 - Administrative uses

Fraud detection and prevention – Your HESA information may be used to audit claims to public funding and student finance, and to detect and prevent fraud

Your HESA record will not be used to make decisions about you other than for those uses outlined under Purpose 2.

Purpose 3 - HESA publications

HESA uses the HESA Student Record to produce statistical publications. These include some National Statistics publications and online management information services. HESA will take precautions to ensure that individuals are not identified from the data which are processed for Purpose 3.

Purpose 4 - Equal opportunity, research, journalism and other processing in which there is a legitimate interest

HESA and the other data controllers listed under Purpose 1 may also supply data to third parties where there is a legitimate interest in doing so.

Examples of use for this purpose include:

  • Equal opportunities monitoring
  • Research - This may be academic research, commercial research or other statistical research where this is in the public interest
  • Journalism - Where the relevant publication would be in the public interest e.g. league tables
  • Provision of information to students and prospective students

Users to whom data may be supplied for Purpose 4 include:

  • Higher education sector bodies
  • Higher education providers
  • Academic researchers and students
  • Commercial organisations (e.g. recruitment firms, housing providers, graduate employers)
  • Unions
  • Non-governmental organisations and charities
  • Local, regional and national government bodies
  • Journalists

Information supplied by HESA to third parties is supplied under contracts which require that individuals shall not be identified from the supplied information. View HESA’s current agreement for the supply of information.

HESA student information (linked to the National Pupil Database and/or Individual Learner Record held by DfE) may be supplied by HESA through DfE to researchers. View the Agreement for the supply of linked data.


The HESA initial teacher training record ("ITT")

If you are on an ITT course at a higher education provider in England, HESA will collect additional information about you and provide this to The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

NCTL is an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE) and for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 DfE and HESA are data controllers in common of the ITT record.

NCTL will process your personal data for the administration and monitoring of initial teacher training schemes, including the allocation of Teacher Reference Numbers.

NCTL may share personal data with us, its partners and contractors, including employers, employment agencies, Ofsted, Capita Teachers’ Pensions and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), for this purpose and may link it to other sources of information about you.


About the HESA student collection notice

The HESA Student Collection Notice is regularly reviewed. View the most up to date version of HESA Student Collection Notice.

Minor updates to the Student Collection Notice (including organisation name changes and clarification of previously specified purposes) may be made at any time. Major updates (such as a new purpose or administrative use) will be made no more than once per year.


Your rights

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have rights of access to the data HESA holds about you. You will have to pay a small fee for this.

For further information about data protection and your HESA information please see www.hesa.ac.uk/dataprot or email data.protection@hesa.ac.uk.