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Student 2016/17 - Start date of instance

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Student 2016/17

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Start date of instance

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Short nameCOMDATE

This field indicates the date of the student's initial commencement of studies for this student instance and may relate to a date prior to the current academic/financial year. Exchange-in students should have the date they commenced their studies at the reporting provider.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All instances


If a student transfers from one HEP to another, the date they entered the current HEP for this qualification aim should be returned in this field.

All date fields in the Student Record must be completed using the ISO8601 format of YYYY-MM-DD. The specification of this field falls within the scope of the Aligned Data Definitions and follows the Data Standards in the HESA student record.

Relationship with Instance.NUMHUS and Instance.YEARSTU:

For a single student instance, the same Student instance number is kept. Instance.YEARSTU would be expected to increment each year. However there would be no updating of Instance.COMDATE nor of other fields in the Entry profile - an exception being, if, for example, an error had been found in the information provided in the previous year).

With the commencement of a new student instance, a new Instance.NUMHUS would be allocated. Instance.YEARSTU would be expected to be 01. Instance.COMDATE should all be updated and a new Entry profile should be submitted.

Where a student transfers from one course to another, the date should not be updated if the same Instance.NUMHUS is kept. For example, changes of subject without change of general qualification aim will not usually reset date of commencement of instance.

Neither should the field be re-set where a student registers for an 'intermediate' qualification aim with the clear intention (acknowledged by both student and provider) that, subject to satisfactory performance, s/he will progress seamlessly (and usually without being awarded the intermediate qualification) onto a 'higher' qualification aim. For example, if a student registers first for an MPhil then switches to a PhD, and this is regarded as normal progression in the provider, such that the same Student instance number is kept, the Instance.COMDATE should not be reset.


1. A student obtains a first degree and then enrols for a one year Masters course. These are two distinct courses at different levels (undergraduate/postgraduate) and therefore would have two Student instance numbers. In this case a new instance is created:

2. A student transfers after two years from an HND course to the second year of a degree course (with or without being awarded the HND). This may be represented in two different ways, depending on how it is viewed by the provider.

If within the provider this is regarded as a seamless continuation of studies, then it is the same student instance and the same Instance.NUMHUS is kept and Instance.YEARSTU increments by one year. In this case:

However, if within the provider this is regarded as two student instances, then a new Instance.NUMHUS is allocated and Instance.YEARSTU re-sets to 01. In this case a new instance is created:

When a provider does not have a clear preference between the two methods of reporting the progression to degree via study for an HND, it is recommended that the first method, using a single student instance, is used. This general guidance would also apply to other similar cases.

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

To determine whether to include a student in any particular population definition; to calculate the duration of a student's education. Used in analyses to determine students who are active in any given academic year.

Part of
Field length10
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: COMDATE
OwnerInformation Standards Board - Aligned Data Definitions

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