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Student 2014/15: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2014/15 Student collection (C14051).

This should be used alongside the C14051 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

Need help? Contact us by email or on +44 (0)1242 211144

Student overview

We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.

The Student stream collects data about students studying at higher education providers in the UK. Details of which students need to be returned to us are included in the Coverage document found in the Coding manual.

The data we collect on behalf of the sector is provided to governments and fundng bodies in order to support the regulation of higher education. We also make anonymised data available to the public to enhance understanding of UK higher education and to support its advancement

Our coding manuals provide you with all the necessary documentation to support your data return. The coding manual contains technical documents giving detailed information on the record's coverage, data specification and submission formats. Familiarising yourself with these documents will help you make an accurate and timely return.

Each collection has its own coding manual which can be found in the Data collection section of our site. By default, you will land on the open collection for each record; you can then select previous or future years.

The coding manuals will be updated throughout the data collection cycle and Record Contacts informed by email when new versions are made live. Be sure to check the manual's Revision history for a summary of changes.

The below table provides an overview of the data collection schedule. A more detailed timetable can be found in the Coding manual.

Period Actions
August 2014 to January 2015 Data capture and collation
January 2015 Validate data locally using Validation Kit
March 2015 C14051 preparation guide released
June/July 2015 C14051 preparation guide released
15 September 2015 Return date
22 September 2015 Commit date
22 September to 31 October 2015 Data quality checking period
31 October 2015 Last submission
3 November 2015 Sign off

You submit data via our Data Collection system. To access this, you will need to have an appropriate role in our Identity System (IDS). We publish an IDS user guide which includes information on creating and editing your account.

You will need to be given access to the Data Collection system by the relevant Record Contact at your provider.

Once you have access to the system you will be able to upload files and track the progress of the collection.

The coding manual homepage includes all the technical information you require, including:

  • The data specification
  • File format specifications
  • A detailed collection schedule
  • Our XML data entry tool (available for some streams)
  • Quality rules.

This Support guides page collects together the following resources:

  • User guide
  • Data collection system: Known issues and release history.

In the Support area of the HESA website, you can find:

Our Data innovation section includes information about:

  • Open and recently completed record reviews, including information about changes we are implementing
  • Our Data Futures programme which will transform the higher education information landscape.

In the About section, you can find:


Our expert analysts have a thorough understanding of our records and processes. We are here to support you throughout the data submission process.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531 

Find out more about Liaison

Our JISCMail groups allow you to discuss specific streams with colleagues from across the sector. We also use the lists to circulate news regarding data requirements and coding manual and validation kit releases.

Join the HESA-Student JISCMail list

If you encounter any problems, contact Liaison

Preparation guide

Key Changes for the C14051 2014/15 Student record

New User Interface and Submission Process

Our data collection system has been upgraded for this year. These upgrades include an improved user Interface, streamlined submission process bar and new style reports. This is now accessed through a different web page to previous collections:

You will be able to send a file to the system earlier than previous years. This year the file will be processed as far as possible, producing as many reports as available, subject to satisfying schema and Entry Profile rules. There is no longer a test commit option; every time you send data the system effectively carries out a test commit. Once all quality rule errors have been resolved, the option to Commit will appear in the process bar.

Accessing the Data Collection System

From 2014/15 onwards, access to the data collection system for the forthcoming C14051 collection, as well as Minerva, will be governed through our Identity System (IDS).

The Student record contact for each provider will have access to the data collection system and through  IDS will be able to invite additional colleagues to also have access to the system to submit data and view reports. This replaces the previous system of access codes and PINs. Further information can be found in the IDS User Guide.

Tranche - overview

For the C14051 Student record, we have adopted a modular (tranche) approach to delivery of the data collection system. This means functional components of the system are being released incrementally during the period leading up to full functionality being released by early August.

The Tranche initiative gives you more flexibility in when data can be submitted. This in turn provides a longer window for data quality checks to be made. 

Details of the contents of each tranche so far released in the table below:

Feature Tranche released
Business rules 2 (business), 4 (exception)
Entry profile 3
Frequency count report 3
DLHE survey population report 3
Student continuity report 4
Credibility report 4
Raw data download 4
Data Supply 5

Credibility reporting

As part of the tranche initiative being undertaken for the 2014/15 HESA Student record, we are updating the way in which management information is presented back to you. This information is moving away from an Excel workbook to a web-based Credibility report. Credibility reporting will present data in a way that is easier for you to review and interpret. When a Checkdoc item is recreated in the Credibility report, it may look very different and/or be broken down into more than one table. There is a Credibility Reporting Mapping Document in the coding manual which will give users the ability to map previous Checkdoc items to tables on to the new Credibility report.

The Credibility reports will also contain query notes. These are similar to the previous queries section of Checkdoc and will highlight the potential issues within your data that could be queried in Minerva once the data has been data quality checked. These queries will act as a guide and will not act as a substitute or provide a definitive list of the queries you will receive.

Alongside the Credibility report, we will also be providing an additional Checkdoc Excel workbook. This will contain the cost centre analysis sheet, unknowns (previously Item 11) and also the remainder of those items from the old checkdocumentation provided for information only.

HESA Amal tool

For the C14051 collection, you need to submit a single file containing full data. Each subsequent file you upload will replace the previous one. If you prepare your data in multiple *.xml files, our XML amalgamator tool will combine these records prior to submission.

NCTL Performance Profiles

In previous collections in order to populate the NCTL Performance Profiles, you needed to fully commit your data in order for these to be produced. New for this year a full commit will not be required in order to populate these reports and meet the deadline for this. As long as valid data has been received that generates all possible reports (i.e data does not fail Entry Profile or other fundamental rules) then data will also successfully transfer to the NCTL webservice.

Student Continuity (previously known as HIN)

In previous collections HIN linking has been used as a way of linking students to instances in previous years. From 2014/15 HIN has been re-branded as a UHN link and Student Continuity.

Quality rules

Validation rules previously known as Business and Exception have now been collectively re branded to be quality rules. There is a new Quality Rules webpage accesses via the coding manual. This single webpage presents all the data quality validation in one place, rather than the rules appearing on each page for individual data items. This ensures greater visibility of the portfolio of rules and also searching as well as a downloadable spreadsheet of rules. For further information on the new Quality Rules webpage, please view the FAQ document in the coding manual.

New fields and valid entries

There have been several additional fields added to the Student record 2014/15, these are Instance.INTENTLEV, Instance.EMPFEES and Instance.EMPFUND. Details of the new fields can be found in the Revision History.


There have been new valid entries added to the Instance.INITIATIVES field. Code E has been added for providers in England participating in the Postgraduate Support Scheme. Codes F-J have been added as new codes for providers offering Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) programmes.


Providers have reported a wide range of issues with collection of data to populate the new Collaborating provider field (REFData.COLPROV) for 2014/15, as it is currently specified. We have been liaising with our Statutory Customers to address these concerns and having considered all the options we can now confirm that it will be optional to return data in the REFData.COLPROV field for 2014/15. 


Please note that the guidance for this field has been updated this year in light of the changes to the fee environment. These updates were issued in version 1.3 of the C14051 Student record coding manual on 29/01/2015. Please be advised that this includes an amendment to the guidance for part-time students. For 2014/15 it is expected that only part-time student where the provider has complete discretion over the fee should be coded as 09 'Other fee'.

If fees are subjected to a form of regulation they should be recorded as SPECFEE - 0.


The UKPRN's for Northern Ireland and Scotland are now available through the UKRLP website. This data should be used to populate the EntryProfile.PREVINST field for Entry Profiles reported in the 2014/15 return. Providers are encouraged to update their records where possible to use the relevant UKPRN rather than the unknown codes. Use of the unknown codes could affect your Performance Indicators.

The mapping document published on the coding manual will not be updated with the new UKPRN's so providers will need to use the UKRLP website to obtain the relevant UKPRN's.

Together with the UK funding councils, we are soon to publish a code of practice on data collection. Formally, the code comes into practice from the reporting year 2015/16. However, given the nature of the code, it is expected that providers will wish to ensure that their 2014/15 returns are prepared in a way that is consistent with the code.

Validation kit

The new Validation kit for the 2014/15 student data is now available to download. A user guide for the kit is available from the same link. The new kit has both increased functionality and a greatly improved processing speed. This allows users earlier access to validation processes and to test against a wider set of quality rules. Please note that if you have a previous version of the Validation kit, it will not be updated to include the C14051 quality rules; you will need to download the new Validation Kit.

Minerva Queries

We expect you to respond to all Minerva queries within the collection window. As a guide we expect that these queries should be answered within 5 working days.

Known Issues

All reported issues are available on the Known Issues page of our website. This includes both fixed and open issues we are aware of.

Derived field specifications     

Full details of the derived fields we use in analysis of the C14051 Student record data are available from the C14051 coding manual page.  

Record contact changes

The record contact is the first point of communication during data collection. Access to our data collection system is also managed by the nominated record contact. If these details change please ensure you notify Liaison to prevent any delay in the granting of this access.

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Issue ID: 3171 - Validation kit, Quality rules

Greater than and Less than symbols displayed incorrectly (> and <) on rule description

Open 10 January 2015  

Issue ID: M53421 - Quality rules page in the coding manual

Full list of Quality rules not displaying at entity level

Open 13 August 2015  

Experiencing an issue not listed here? Let us know.

Release ID Release date Release summary
 TR 7  

This release includes:

  • All remaining quality rules - no further new rules are anticipated beyond this date.
 TR 6  

This release includes:

  • The addition of shading to a number of tables within the Credibility report
  • 31 new quality rules
  • An update to the amalgamation tool to allow files to be merged where the same HUSID appears in more than one file.
 TR 5  5 June 2015

This release includes:

  • Additional chapters in the Credibility report - DLHE population, Qualifications awaded, Mobility and ITT
  • Additional quality rules
  • Data supply report.
 TR 4 7 May 2015

The release includes:

  • Continuity report
  • First release of the Credibility report
  • A number of new quality rules
  • Raw data download.
 TR 3 7 April 2015

This release includes:

  • DLHE survey population (previously known as POPDLHE)
  • Frequency counts
  • Entry profile match report.
 TR 2  

First release of the data collection system for C14051.

 TR 1  

First release of the validation kit for C14051. 

Addition of the new quality rules page on the coding manual.

Stages of data submission

A. Sending data

Send data by clicking on the 'send data' button in the data collection system. Note that actions not currently available will be greyed out.

Data collection system - Process flow

Browse your computer to locate the file you wish to submit, and upload the file to the data collection system. 


  • Files can have any name
  • Files must be in XML and conform to the relevant XML Schema Definition (XSD) file
  • Files can be compressed using PKZip/WinZip which will significantly reduce the upload time
  • Only a single file can be held on the system.

B. Validation

Automated validation checks (quality rules) will now run.

Further details on the quality rules which apply to this collection can be found in the coding manual.

The Quality rules report will contain the details of any rules triggered by the submission. Make any necessary amendments to the data and resubmit the file to the system. To pass validation, the file must not trigger any validation errors.

You can run some of these validation checks through our validation kit before submitting data to the data collection system. The kit enables you to test your data locally against schema and business stage validation rules prior to submission. You are strongly encouraged to use the validation kit as part of your data preparations.

Remember that you need to process and pass the business-stage validation in order to meet the requirements of the return deadline.

How to obtain a switch

When errors are triggered in the Data Collection system but the data has been checked and is genuine, you need to request a switch. This is because your file will not pass the validation requirements of the collection deadlines if there are any remaining errors.

Please email your switch request to Liaison, stating which rule is causing the error to be triggered and for how many records, together with an explanation as to why the data is genuine.

This will then be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for them to review. They may agree the switch, ask for more information or state how they wish the data to be returned so that an error is no longer triggered.

This request should be sent well in advance of any deadline, to allow sufficient time for a decision to be made.

When a switch has been agreed, it will be applied to your data for the count specified and the data will be reprocessed. This will resolve the error.

If the count increases, the rule will be triggered again, and you will need to request that the count on the switch be increased. This will be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for approval.

To proceed to the next stage in the submission process, a valid file needs to have been submitted. The data will then be classed as 'committable' and the option to process a COMMIT transaction will be made available through the data collection system.  

Prior to committing data, you should review all of the reports produced on the data collection system and make any necessary corrections to the data.

The COMMIT transaction sends a copy of your submission to our data quality assurance team and, where appropriate, to the relevant funding council. We analyse your return in parallel with your own analysis.


A passed commit transaction will lock the system to prevent the data from being amended. This is to allow our data quality assurance team to analyse the submission. To unlock the system you will need to request a DECOMMIT transaction.

Request a decommit by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531

Remember that you need to process and pass a COMMIT transaction in order to meet the requirements of the commit deadline.

Once we have analysed your committed return, data quality queries will be posted onto the Issue Management System data quality database. Relevant users will be notified by email when these queries are available to view. The Issue Management System user guide provides help on using the Issue Management System.

Access the Issue Management System data quality database

Once your data has passed all the stages of validation, and any issues highlighted during credibility checking have been addressed, we will set the return to CREDIBLE. This produces the sign-off form.

When data is set to credible, a link to the sign-off form is automatically emailed to the head of the submitting organisation as well as the appropriate record contact. The form should be completed and signed by the head of the reporting organisation and returned to us by email or post. This verification offers both you and us assurances regarding onward use of the data.

Sign-off completes the data collection process.