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1136.0 - Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2004  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/12/2004   
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Contents >> Non-ABS Collections >> Higher Education >> Higher Education Student Statistics Collection

Higher Education Student Statistics Collection


Assistant Director
University Statistics Section
Research, Analysis and Evaluation Group
Higher Education Division
Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST)
PO Box 9880, Canberra City, ACT 2601
Telephone (02) 6240 9788
Facsimile (02) 6123 8503


The Higher Education Student Data Collection includes information for students enrolled in higher education courses for:

  • the number of students enrolled;
  • the Equivalent Full-time Student Unit (EFTSU) load;
  • Award Course Completions for students completing higher education award courses; and
  • Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) status.


The Higher Education Student Data Collection only includes information from higher education institutions in Australia as determined under the Higher Education Funding Act 1988. This includes:
  • institutions that receive block operating grant funding for teaching and research activities;
  • other public higher education institutions which receive some level of operating grant funding; and
  • the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the National Institute of Dramatic Art and the Australian Defence Force Academy.
Private institutions are not required to report statistical data to DEST and are therefore outside the scope of the collection.



Department of Education, Science and Training, Students, Selected Higher Education Statistics, DEST, Canberra.
Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs 2001, Higher Education Students Time Series Tables 2000, Selected Higher Education Statistics, DETYA, Canberra.

Tables from the Higher Education Student collection are available on the DEST website.

Data Service

Other data may be available on request.

Release Schedule

The publication is released in April of the year following the reference year.


There are a large number of data items collected in the Higher Education Student Data Collection. Shown below is a broad level summary of the details collected:

Age and Gender
Country of birth
Home postcode
Language spoken at home
Tertiary Entrance Score
Basis for admission (e.g. mature age special entry)
HECS information (e.g. exemption from HECS)
Student load
Course type
Field of study


Information is available for Australia and all states and territories.


Institutions receive detailed written documentation about what information is required to be furnished in the form of an electronic help file. Universities design and produce their own statistical information (Enrolment) forms. These are designed to be used by institutions to collect the required information from students. DEST have provided institutions with suggested wording for questions relating to Indigenous status, language spoken at home and disability.

Institutions are provided with a software package (DEST) to assist with the collection of data. Incorporated in the package is a data validation process. Institutions are required to validate statistical and other data prior to submission. This data are then provided to DEST and a further series of validation checks are undertaken.


Reference Period

From 2002 the census date is between 31 August and 2 September of the previous year. Prior to 2002, the census date was 31 March each year. However for HECS Liability status and student load information there are two census dates of 31 March and 31 August each year.

Frequency of Collection


Historical Data

The collection of higher education statistics in its current form commenced in 1987. Prior to that there were two separate collections of data relating to advanced education institutions and Universities. Data between the two collections is not strictly compatible and only limited comparisons can be made. Since 1987 there have also been changes to the existing collection. In 1989 a number of significant changes to the collection were made, resulting from the introduction of HECS. Since that time DEST has reviewed the nature of information required and the timing of provision of the data.



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