Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey Information

About the survey


The survey we are asking you to take part in is a national survey of everyone who has recently qualified from any university or HE college in the UK. The information you provide will also be very useful to us at university/college to advise our current students about the opportunities that might be available to them.

Of those who obtained qualifications across the UK in 2013/14, 79% responded to the survey. Of these, 71% reported that they were working and a further 6% were working and studying. 12% were undertaking further study only. 6% of leavers were assumed to be unemployed. More results can be found at

If we don’t hear from you we will try to contact you again, possibly by phone, so please let us know if you change your address or phone number.

If we can’t get in touch with you at all, we may try to get information about what you were doing from someone else, either at the university/college or someone we can reach using the contact information you have previously provided. If you don’t want us to do this, or you don’t want to give us any information at all, please tell us. Below are details about what happens to your information after it is sent to us.

A follow-up survey is planned for three years’ time so that we can get even more information about the early careers of those with HE qualifications. You might be asked to take part in this follow-up survey as well, which will be carried out by a different organisation.

The current survey may also be audited – that is, checked to make sure it has been carried out correctly. If you don’t want to take part in the follow-up survey, or to be contacted during an audit, please let us know. You can also let us know that you do not want to take part in the follow-up survey by ticking the box at the end of the questionnaire.

If you have any questions about the RNCM DLHE, please email [email protected] 

Student Collection Notice


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.

After you graduate we may contact you to ask you to complete one or more surveys into the outcomes of higher education and your activities after graduation. These surveys may be undertaken by us or by another specialist organisation contracted for that purpose. If a specialist organisation is used that organisation will receive your contact details, but will only use your details for the purpose of asking you to complete the survey, and will then delete them. You may also be contacted as part of an audit to check that we or any contracted organisation have undertaken these surveys properly.

If you do not want to take part in any of these surveys, please let us know.

Submission of your information to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)1

Every year we will send some of the information we hold about you to HESA (“your HESA information”). HESA is the official source of data about UK universities, higher education colleges, alternative HE providers, and recognised higher education courses taught at further education institutions in Wales. HESA collects, and is responsible for, the database in which your HESA information is stored. HESA is a registered charity and operates on a not-for-profit basis. HESA uses your HESA information itself for its own purposes. HESA also shares information from your HESA information with third parties. It may charge other organisations to whom it provides services and data. HESA’s use of your HESA information may include linking information from it to other information, as described further below. HESA information is retained indefinitely by HESA for statistical research purposes. All uses of HESA information must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.

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 provider 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.

Purposes of collecting your HESA information

Your HESA information 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 may include:

  • Department for Education
  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Welsh Government
  • Scottish Government
  • Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
  • Research Councils
  • Education Funding Agency
  • Skills Funding Agency
  • National College for Teaching and Leadership
  • National Health Service bodies and organisations working with them e.g. Health Education England
  • General Medical Council
  • Office For Fair Access
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

and any successor bodies. These bodies may retain HESA information indefinitely for statistical research purposes, or for fixed terms depending on the terms of their data sharing agreements with HESA.

Other uses

Your HESA information may also be used by some organisations who are also data controllers in common 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.

Previous study – If you are enrolled at a higher education provider in England: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) may share your previous education records with us, including HESA information submitted by other institutions, to determine the nature of any prior higher education study, including your current qualifications. This may be used to make decisions about the fees you are required to pay, the support available to you or the availability of a place for you to study with us.

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

Purpose 3 – HESA publications

HESA uses your HESA information to produce and publish information and statistics. This includes some National Statistics publications and online business intelligence and research services. HESA will take precautions to ensure that individuals are not identified from any information which is 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 in common (see Purpose 1) may also supply information 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 information 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 within Purpose 4 is supplied under contracts which require that individuals shall not be identified from the supplied information. A copy of HESA’s current agreement for the supply of information is available here.

HESA student information may be linked to school and/or further education college information and supplied to researchers. A copy of the Agreement for the supply of linked data about pupils from schools in England is available here.

Linking of your HESA information to other information

As indicated above, where HESA and organisations covered by Purpose 1 use HESA information this may include linking HESA information to other information for example:

  • UCAS data
  • National Student Survey data
  • School and Further Education data
  • Student Loans Company data
  • Qualification Awarding Bodies data
  • Tax, Benefits, and Employment data. (Guidance on the use of HESA records matched to Tax, Benefits and Employment data is available here).

Where HESA provides information from your HESA information to third parties under Purpose 4, the permitted uses of the information by a third party may include linking HESA information to other information held by the third party. Permission for such use is considered on a case by case basis. It is only given where the linking is for the purposes outlined in Purpose 4 and subject to the requirement not to carry out linking to identify individuals.

Destinations information for schools and colleges – If you attended a school or college in England linked data may be disclosed to the last school or college you attended (or its successor body) and to Ofsted to enable them to assess the outcomes of secondary education.

The HESA Initial Teacher Training record (ITT)

If you are on an ITT or EYITT 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).

ITT or EYITT courses are those that lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

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 (TRNs). NCTL will contact you to provide confirmation of your TRN and any subsequent award of qualified teacher status. 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. The most up to date version can be found here. 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

For further information about data protection and your HESA information please see here. If you have questions about how your HESA information is used please contact [email protected]. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have rights of access to the information HESA holds about you. You will have to pay a small fee for this. If you think there is a problem with the way HESA are handling your data you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.