Annual Statistical Return
These pages are an information resource for institutions uploading annual statistical returns to the HEA’s Student Records System.
About the Return
The HEA Students Records System (SRS) contains data on two cohorts:
– Current students
– Graduates: Those who have successfully completed a course/research for an award in the preceding academic year.
Reporting Conjoint courses
Conjoint courses are courses for which there two coordinating institutions. For these courses, the institutions involved should agree on which institution should report the students for any given year. These students (and graduates) can only be reported by one institution for any given year. The HEA recommends the following guidelines:
Students participating in conjoint courses involving more than one higher education institution are to be reported only by the institution in which they are based at the census date.
In the case where the student is simultaneously attending both institutions (for different modules etc), the student is to be reported only by the institution in which they are conducting the main part of their study.
In respect of graduation data, these graduates are to be reported only by the institution that is making the award.
The census date for the collection of the Student Record System data is the 1st of March of the academic year. Graduate data relates to those who have successfully completed a course/research for an award in the preceding academic year. Data is submitted to the SRS in .xml format.
Student Record System Files
The upload to the SRS consists of three files: the Programme file, the Course file, and the Survey file
A programme is the general or un-denominated area of study that a course belongs to e.g. Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Business Studies. If the academic structure in your institution is highly denominated programme and course will most likely be the same. The programme file contains descriptors such as programme name, faculty, programme type (i.e. Undergraduate Degree).
A course is a denominated area of study within a programme, for instance, Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. The student has enrolled on the programme Bachelor of Engineering but is pursuing a more specific are of study. The course file contains descriptors such as course name, course code, awarding body etc.
This file contains the individual student or graduate records. A broad range of data is collected; student details such as age, gender, country of origin; course details such as course being pursued, ISCED code of this course, mode of study (full-time/part-time) and subject data (where further breakdown is required e.g. BA Arts, BSc Science).
Each year’s returns are a self-contained set of files.
The programme file contains all programme details relating to current students. These must be assigned the current academic year (e.g. 2017/18). The programme file also contains all programme details relating to graduates. These must be assigned the previous academic year (e.g. 2016/17).
The course file contains all course details relating to current students. These must be assigned the current academic year (2017/18). The course file also contains all course details relating to graduates. These must be assigned the previous academic year (2016/17). As a course is viewed as an area of study within a programme each course should have a programme code i.e. the programme of which it is part. This programme code must relate to a programme already submitted by your institution for the relevant return and academic year i.e. programme code submitted in the course file must relate to an existing programme for that return year and academic year.
The survey file contains data relating to both students and graduates. The “Enrol Status” field asks the user to specify whether the record relates to a student or a graduate. Students must be assigned the current academic year (e.g. 2017/18) and graduates the preceding academic year (e.g. 2016/17). Course details returned in the student file must relate to a course record already submitted for that return and academic year.
Field of Study coding using ISCED
Field of Study coding for the Student Record System is based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), developed and used by UNESCO. The manual ‘Fields of education and training 2013 (ISCED-F 2013) – Detailed field descriptions’ is an excellent reference manual and provides a detailed breakdown of the ISCED fields. It is available for download at
Data is coded in the SRS survey file by 4-digit detailed fields which are detailed in the SRS code books.
The statistics section contact all institutions in advance of data returns to provide up to date code books, any relevant special instructions and .xsd files which validate returns prior to loading.
Further details can be obtained from email@example.com