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Understanding the Evidence

3.8 HESA Student Data

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student data provides information on UK students by place of domicile, rather than place of birth or nationality. Domicile is defined as the place of ‘normal residence’ before taking up study. This means that non-UK domiciled students will include some UK citizens who have been living abroad before coming back to the UK to study. The data primarily come from higher education providers and are supplemented by information from the Initial Teacher Training record (for students on a teaching training course) and the Aggregate Offshore record (for students studying overseas).

Much of the data are freely available on the HESA website although this guide makes use of a tailored dataset purchased from HESA to show the share of international students among all higher education students for every UK local authority (see Figure 5).

To learn more about HESA’s student data, visit its website here