STROBE is a UCAS service that can track individuals into the UCAS applications system, and report anonymously on their outcomes or characteristics at aggregate levels.

What is STROBE?

STROBE is a data service, run by UCAS, that aims to link a dataset of named individuals to the UCAS database.

This means you can receive information about these individuals on the following:

  • Their application journey – from application to acceptance.
  • Specific universities, or groups of universities, they’ve applied to.
  • Which year they will start their studies in.
  • Further information from your own variables.

You’ll receive an independent assessment of your outcomes, which will highlight where statistically significant results have been achieved. You’ll be supplied with aggregated statistics, rounded to the nearest five. This avoids personal disclosure, and allows you freedom to publish the results.

You can gather even more information about your selected group of individuals by linking your STROBE output to our EXACT data service.

What can I use STROBE for?

STROBE can be used for a number of charitable and commercial purposes. The two most common uses for this service are as follows:

  1. Widening participation impact evaluator
    UCAS has carried out work with a charity that aims to increase the number of disadvantaged young people accessing higher education. The charity sent UCAS a list of young people who had been in touch with them, and UCAS was able to report that contact with this charity meant the young people were significantly more likely to apply to – and be accepted at – a highly selective university. The charity was then able to publish this information in their marketing, and report it to those funding their work.
  2. Open day evaluator
    UCAS worked with a higher education provider following one of their open days. STROBE imported the list of named individuals, and was able to demonstrate that the provider had converted 37% of the available market through their open day. Through STROBE, the provider was also able to identify two competitors that, between them, had converted 44% of the available market. This helped the provider understand the competition, which in turn informed its strategic planning.

Other uses of STROBE include:

  • evaluation of direct contact with prospective students during Clearing
  • use of higher education access rates, alongside estimates of graduate earnings, to demonstrate the lifetime value of an intervention for an individual
  • evaluation of mailing campaigns geared to increase interest in higher education

As the sector becomes more creative, we will see further uses of this data service.

What other benefits are there?

STROBE is available ‘in-cycle’, meaning you don’t have to wait for A level results day for application information.

From receipt of the data, we will provide your outputs within one week.


There are three pricing structures for STROBE:

  1. Small datasets – a high resolution service, priced at £5 per record submitted. This includes the full STROBE functionality.
  2. Large datasets – a low resolution service, available at a flat fee of £2,000, as a price per record strategy is not feasible for large numbers. Full STROBE functionality for large datasets requires a link to EXACT – email for more information.
  3. For charitable interventions, we offer a public benefit service, where under certain circumstances, STROBE can be accessed at no cost. Email for more information.

The legal bit

  1. You must have permission to share individuals’ data with UCAS.
  2. STROBE terms of service are available on request. These are deemed as accepted on receipt on third party data.
  3. Data will be transferred via SFTP.
  4. Data will be destroyed after use for the business purpose.