Overview of data collected by, or on behalf of, the HEA’s Statistics Unit
The Student Records System (SRS): The SRS is the HEA student database containing administrative student data returned to the HEA each year from HEA-funded higher education institutions. Data goes back as far as 2004. Data are at microdata level – student level data includes PPSN and, from 2018 onwards, name and address are also included. This is the main source of data for higher education statistics in Ireland and is used to provide evidence in support of higher education policy-making. There are hundreds of thousands of individual records in the SRS, with dozens of student, course and institute level variables.
The Equal Access Survey (EAS): The EAS is an annual voluntary survey of first year undergraduate new entrants to HEA-funded higher education institutions. The survey is conducted by each higher education institution and data is returned to the HEA. A private contractor (currently Insight Statistical Consulting) codes parents’ occupation into socio-economic group data on behalf of the HEA. Data are at individual/identifiable student level and are linked via PPSN/student ID to SRS data and from 2018 onwards, it will also link to the Graduate Outcomes Survey data. Variables include disability status, ethnicity, parents’ occupations and socio-economic class/group, i.e. sensitive personal data.
Graduate Outcomes Survey: This is an annual voluntary survey of graduates from HEA funded higher education institutions, nine months after graduation. The survey is conducted by each higher education institution and data is returned to the HEA. Data are collected, stored and analysed at student level. Variables include present situation, occupation and salary. The Higher Education Authority’s First Destinations Survey was first carried out by the institutions in 1982.
The Irish Survey of Student Engagement: This is annual voluntary survey of students in higher education institutions. The survey is conducted by a private contractor (currently iGraduate). At present, these data are not linked into any other data sources.
The Eurostudent Survey: This is a periodic (not annual) European wide voluntary survey of higher education students. A private contractor (currently Insight Statistical Consulting) conducts the Irish survey with higher education institutions and data are returned to the HEA in aggregate format. Data collected includes student income and expenditure.