The Statistics Unit is responsible for:
- collecting, analysing and disseminating student & graduate data returned to the HEA from all HEA-funded institutions via the Student Record System.
- the Graduate Outcomes survey of undergraduate and postgraduates, tracking graduate destinations nine months after graduation.
- tracking how students perform at third level, e.g., how many progress from first year to second year, and how many complete their studies.
- examining the socio-economic profile of the higher education population each year.
- the Equal Access survey for 1st year undergraduate enrolments, providing evidence on equality of access to higher education and delivering an evidence base to inform policy in higher education in Ireland.
By providing insights into higher education students/graduates, we provide the Higher Education Authority, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Minister with the necessary evidence to formulate effective higher education policy.
The Statistics Team
|Dr Vivienne Patterson||Head of Skills, Engagement and Statistics|
|Ms Janice Lau||Senior Statistics Manager|
|Ms Valerie Harvey||Head of Performance Evaluation|
|Dr Dawn Carroll||Data Analyst|
|Mr David Sheils||Data Analyst|
|Mr David Reilly||Data Analyst|
|Mr Brendan Duggan||Data Analyst|
|Mr John Horan||Database Developer|
What statistics are available?
Section 49 of the Higher Education Act 2022 provides that:
‘a designated institution of higher education or a funded body (whether or not also a designated institution of higher education) shall, if so requested by the HEA, furnish to it such personal data which are necessary and proportionate for the HEA to perform its functions’
To meet this obligation, publicly funded Higher Education Institutions must provide statistics on student enrolments and graduates to the HEA in the form of an annual statistical return. The Statistics Unit of the Higher Education Authority is responsible for collecting, auditing and analysing these student data returns. This data is collated to form the Student Record System (SRS) database.
Student Record System (SRS) data.
The SRS data can be grouped into three broad areas.
New Entrants are defined as full time undergraduate first year students entering higher education study for the first-time.
Enrolments are all under- or post-graduate students, including New Entrants. Published enrolment data includes students studying full-time and part-time.
These are persons graduating with an award.
In line with the HEA’s IT Security Policy, the SRS is only accessible by members of the HEA’s Statistics Unit. However aggregated data is made available for the public for download via the Access our Data Section and are also presented through easily accessible interactive data visualisations such as our Key Facts and Figures.
Other statistical analyses and publications are available to download from the publications section of this website.
To allow the user to tailor the data to their needs several filters are available. Filters available include:
- Higher Education Institution
- Field of Study ISCED (broad and detailed)
- Age Groups
- Domicile Group
- County of normal residence (Irish domiciled students only)
- Programme type and level (under-graduate and post-graduate)
- Mode of study (full-time, part-time)
Our aim is to produce statistics that are accurate and reliable, coherent and comparable. We will be objective in our analysis and disseminate our statistics in a clear, accessible and timely manner.
Through our work, we abide by the following core values, based on international principles and best practice:
- Statistical Professionalism
- Independence and Integrity
- Respect for statistical confidentiality
- Excellent service to our customers
- Respect to our data providers
- Value for Money
The HEA are being assessed by the CSO for compliance with the Irish Statistical System Code of Practice (ISSCoP). This code ensures official statistics are produced in an objective, transparent and independent manner and are a mark of quality assurance.
Dissemination and Timelines
Student data is returned to the HEA in Q2 of the year and the HEA aims to release new data no later than year-end (31 December of the relevant return year). Where there is a delay in releasing new data, this will be flagged on our website
Timelines for Release of Data
|HEA Key Facts & Figures||No later than 31 Oct annually (5pm)|
|HEA Access our Data||No later than 30 Nov annually (5pm)|
|HEA Non-Progression and Completion Dashboard||No later than 1 Mar annually (5pm)|
|HEA Graduate Outcomes Survey||No later than 31 Jan annually (5pm)|
|HEA Socio-Economic Profiles||No later than 1 Dec annually (5pm)|
|HEA Research Info-Bytes||Ongoing|
The HEA publishes annual statistics on the number of students and the number of graduates in higher education in Ireland. The source of this data is the annual Student Record System returns. A formal auditing process is carried out annually, to ensure data quality, validity, and accuracy. Once this auditing process is finalised, the registrar of each HEI (higher education institute) signs off on the data.
As such, published figures are unlikely to change. Nonetheless, where a revision occurs in a published output, this will be addressed promptly, and a notice placed on the affected statistical release.
Where the format, content or methodology of published figures are altered and revised in future iterations, notice of such revisions will also be communicated in subsequent releases.
You can customise the reports in all our available dashboards. Note that data in Access our Data dashboards are available for download in various formats.
Requests for Microdata (RFM)
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is committed to supporting the re-use of data collected for analytical and policy-making purposes in a secure, efficient, and transparent way, in line with the Public Service Data Strategy 2019-2023 and the National Statistics Board Strategic Priorities for Official Statistics –2021-2026. We are also at all times committed to ensuring that the integrity and confidentiality of individual data subjects’ (i.e., Student/Graduate data) microdata is maintained.
Please read our Policy on Access to Research Microdata Files (click on download link below)
Policy on Access to Research Microdata Files
Privacy, Data Protection and Disclosure Control
The level of disaggregation of data disseminated publicly is subject to data protection considerations. Data disaggregated to a level which may allow individuals to be identified (even indirectly) is not disseminated publicly. Microdata and personal data are only shared with bodies with which we have a legal basis for doing so via specific data sharing agreements.
Please see our data protection page for further information.
The HEA is committed to ensuring that all data is compiled to the highest standard. In
particular, the HEA adheres to the principles set out in the ‘Irish Statistical System Code of Practice’ (www.isscop.ie/codeofpractice/) and is working towards signing a statement of commitment to ISSCoP. The HEA is committed to protecting the confidentiality of all student data, consistent with the HEA obligations under Irish law. Data is published and disseminated at aggregate level which protects against disclosure of information pertaining to individual persons. Certain combinations of attributes can sometimes contain a very small number of entities, even in aggregated data. In such instances, it may be possible to identify attributes of individual students or graduates, either directly or by comparing it with other data. Statistical disclosure control techniques are therefore used to safeguard the confidentiality of information about individuals. This may reduce the level of detail published or disseminated in a minor way so that personal information is not identifiable.
Other HEA statistics
In addition to analysis of the SRS data, the statistics unit:
- gather graduate outcomes data via the Graduate Outcomes survey, where we analyse the present situation of graduates each year nine months after graduation.
- collect data through the Equal Access Survey, a survey of first year undergraduate students examining disability and ethnicity.
- contributes to the annual StudentSurvey.ie (The Irish Survey of Student Engagement).
- publish Research Info-Bytes which focus on specific policy relevant areas with the aim of providing new, targeted, evidence-based insight.
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