Higher Education Statistics Collection (HESC)


Collection frequency


Latest data


Description of data source

The Higher Education Statistics Collection includes the Higher Education student data collection which encompasses enrolments, equivalent full-time student load (unit of study data) and completions. It includes all Higher Education Institutions that have been approved under the Higher Education Support Act 2003.


Disability refers to students who have indicated that they have a disability, impairment or long-term medical condition which may affect their studies.

Age groups

Age calculated at 31 December in the year prior to the reference year.


Sex is recorded as ‘Male’, ‘Female’ or ‘Intersex/indeterminate’.

Indigenous status

Indigenous status is based on individuals self-identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. The term ‘First Nations employees’ is used to refer to the APS employees who have identified as an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.

Definition of CALD

A domestic student who arrived in Australia less than 10 years prior to the year in which the data were collected, and who comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken.

Geographic information

Data collected in the 2021 HESC are based on the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).1

Remoteness is classified according to Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia.2


National, state and territory data are available.

Measures reported
  1. The ASGS can be found at Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au).
  2. Further information on the geographic standard used by this data source can be found at Remoteness Structure | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au).
  3. The data collection method for Higher Education student data changed in 2020, including changes to detailed disability categories.
  4. Due to an issue related to implementation of the Tertiary Collection of Student Information (TCSI) System over its first year of operation in 2020, enrolment numbers for students with disability were substantially under-reported in the case of several universities. As it is not yet possible to correct this oversight, the entire series has been reported as received and the figures for some individual universities, and the aggregate figures for states and university sectors have been affected. This issue can be seen in the 2020 access, participation, and success indicators and the 2020 retention rates as reported in the 2021 data set. For this reason, caution should be taken when including 2020 enrolment data for students with disability in either annual, aggregate, or cross-institutional comparisons.