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HESA Student Record 2013/14 - Student Support Number

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HESA Student Record 2013/14

Fields required from institutions in Scotland

Student Support Number

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Short nameSSN

This field holds the Student Support Number assigned by Student Support Award Authorities (Northern Ireland Library Boards, Welsh Local Authorities, Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and Student Loans Company (SLC)). It is the student identifier that is used in student finance communications between the Student Support Award Authorities, institutions and SLC. The SSN is unique to each funded instance of engagement.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All institutions, all students in receipt of statutory student finance except where Course.COURSEAIM ends in 90 or 99.


The SSN is 13 characters long. The first four characters are alpha. The next 8 characters are numeric. The last character, which is a check character, is alpha.

Students in receipt of SLC funding will have both a Student Support Number and a Customer Reference Number allocated by the SLC.

The Customer Reference Number (CRN) – also called Art ID – is generated when an application to the SLC for financial support is made, and is held against the student. The SSN is generated when confirmation of support notification is received and this is the number that should be recorded in this field. A student should only have one SSN and one CRN. For information, SSN has an alphanumeric format of XXXX99999999X whereas CRN has a fully numeric format of 99999999999.

When a Scottish domiciled student who studies in Scotland and is assigned a number by SAAS, then moves to England and studies in England, their SAAS number is converted to an SSN and therefore this may appear as though the student has two numbers.

It is not expected that the same SSN will appear in multiple instances unless it is held by a student who has changed course.

Calculation of Checksum

The algorithm for calculating the checksum is as follows:

For positions 1 to 4 of the SSN:

  • Convert each character to a number using the following values:
    A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3, E=4, F=5, G=6, H=7, J=8, K=9, L=10, M=11, N=12, P=13, R=14, S=15, T=16, U=17, V=18, W=19, X=20, Y=21
  • Multiply each number by the weighting factor, which is 14 minus the position (i.e. 13 for position 1, 12 for position 2 etc)

For positions 5 to 12 of the SSN:

  • Multiply each value for positions 5 to 12 by the weighting factor, which is 14 minus the position (i.e. 9 for position 5, 8 for position 6 etc)

Calculate the check character:

  • Divide the sum of the calculated values for positions 1 to 12 by 23 to get a remainder (i.e. if summed value was 475 then the remainder would be 15)
  • Subtract this remainder from 23 and convert this value to a character using the following values:
    1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D, 5=E, 6=F, 7=G, 8=H, 9=J, 10=K, 11=L, 12=M, 13=N, 14=P, 15=R, 16=S, 17=T, 18=U, 19=V, 20=W, 21=X, 22=Y, 23=Z
  • This is the check character, so if validating a captured SSN this should match position 13 of the SSN.

Note: characters I, O, Q are not valid characters in the SSN. Z is only valid in position 13.

Worked example

When the Student Support Number = WADM46891352A

  1. Convert the characters to numbers using the values, so W=19, A=0, D=3, M=11.

  2. Multiply each number by the weighting factor.

  3. Positions: 1 2 3 4
    Weighting factor: 13 12 11 10

    (W=19*13=247), (A=0*12=0), (D=3*11=33), (M=11*10=110)

  4. For positions 5 to 12 (46891352) multiply the number by the weighting factor.

  5. Positions: 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    Weighting factor: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

    (4*9=36), (6*8=48), (8*7=56), (9*6=54), (1*5=5), (3*4=12), (5*3=15), (2*2=4)

  6. Sum the calculated values for positions 1 to 12.
  7. (247+0+33+110+36+48+56+54+5+12+15+4=620)

  8. Divide this number by 23 to get a remainder.
  9. (620/23=26 with a remainder of 22)

  10. Subtract the remainder from 23 and convert this value to a character.
  11. (23-22=1=A)

This is the check character and this matches position 13 of the SSN.


For example

Student Support Number = WADM46891352A

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this field are displayed here.
Reason required

To enable robust linking between HESA data and the student finance data held by SLC in order to reduce data requirements for students where these data can be sourced from the SLC.

Part of
Field length13
Minimum occurrences0
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: SSN
Data type: SSNType
Date modified2014-06-26
Change management notesGuidance updated to include information about the identifiers available from the Student Loans Company.

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