HESA is the Higher Education Statistics Agency.  It was established in 1994 and is the recognised central data collection and provision service for UK higher education.

Why are we interested?

HESA is funded via institutional subscriptions and, as part of the Financial Memorandum of Understanding that institutions have with their funding councils, all universities have a statutory requirement to report accurate data to them in a formal return each year, usually in the autumn.

Can you tell me more about the HESA return?

HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, is responsible for the distribution of funding to HE providers in England.  The amount of money that Leicester receives from HEFCE will depend on the data that is supplied by institutions, including the information contained within the HESA return.

The Division of Human Resources deals solely with the staff return, although there are several other returns that have to be made by universities in the UK.  These cover areas such as students, finance and campus facilities which, at Leicester, are dealt with by the relevant Divisions in Corporate Services.

Whilst the information in the staff return focuses on teaching and research staff in particular, it includes every member of staff who has been employed in each academic year, irrespective of how long they have worked at the University, how much they were paid or whether the employment was ongoing or of a more ad-hoc nature (such as guest lecturers paid via TF1s and/or VF1s).

Why is HESA important to the University?

The return submitted to HESA is important to Leicester in a number of ways.  The return is integral to the level of funding received from HEFCE, as well as published documents such as Teaching Quality Information, performance indicators and allocations for Widening Participation.  The HESA student return is also used to generate the contact lists for the National Student Survey and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE).

What if the data submitted is inaccurate?

All universites have a statutory requirement to report accurate data to HESA in their returns.  Data is audited by HEFCE and fines may be applied if inaccurate data has been supplied.  The University could also receive less funding, which could have an impact upon the University's services.  Accurate data is also important to our reputation as HESA data is used by University League Table compilers.  Incorrect data could reduce the overall scores the University receives, which could significantly affect our ability to recruit students in a highly competitive HE market.

How can I get more information about HESA?

To find out more, go to the HESA website.

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