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Student 2018/19: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2018/19 Student collection (C18051).

This should be used alongside the C18051 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

What is the Student stream?

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

What is a coding manual?

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.

How do I submit data to HESA?

You submit data via our online 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, track the progress of your submission, view data quality issues and download reports. An overview of the submission and validation process is given below. Further details are provided in the Coding manual under the 'Submission process and quality assurance' section heading.

Submit data

Where can I find...?

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:

  • Preparation guide
  • Stream user guide
  • Data collection system: Known issues and release history.

In the Contact and support area of our site, 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 us section, you can find:

Where can I find further help with the Student record? Who are Liaison?

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 211144 

Find out more about Liaison

Student record JISCMail list

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 (to follow)

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Known issues (C18051)
Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Issue ID: 71463 - Schema validation for ILR 

EmploymetStatusMonitoring.EMSCODE.1 requires ESM Codes 2, 3 and 4 added to the schema to match the ILR - as these are valid for continuing students. The addition has been requested.

Open 03 March 2019 11 April 2019

Issue ID: 96509 - Schema validation

A schema error has been reported in the submission of COURSEAIM and QUALSBJ code H91. Initial investigation has found this may also affect code I91.

Closed 01 February 2019 14 February 2019

Issue ID: 67214 - ILR file generation 

Schema errors have been reported in the submission of the ILR file when submitted to the ESFA. This has been experienced in the 'OTJHours' element, reporting an 'invalid child element 'OTJOURS' and capitalisation errors for 'AgreeId'.

Closed 23 October 2018 29 November 2018

Issue ID: 65066 - ILR file generation 

The ILR file generation output is removing capital letters from the SWSUPAIMID field, which is causing files to trigger schema errors when they are submitted to the ESFA. 

Closed 1 October 2018 5 October 2018
Release history (C18051)
Release ID Release date Release summary
13 24 May 2019

The following two Exception rules have been added:

  • Instance.SDLEAD.4 - to warn when more than 10% of instances in coverage have a lead school coded '900010 Not applicable/not available' or '900000 Establishment outside England and Wales'.
  • Instance.SDEMPLOY.4 - to warn when more than 10% of instances in coverage have an employing school coded '900010 Not applicable/not available' or '900000 Establishment outside England and Wales'.
12 09 May 2019

Following the implementation of derived fields, the Exception rules have been rolled-on, and the following updates released:

  • QR.Instance.HEAPESPOP.8/9/14/15 and Student.SSN.5 deleted, as a result of Instance.HEAPESPOP now being optional for C18051
  • QR.Instance.SDLEAD.4 added to warn on over-use of generic codes
  • QR.Student.HUSID.6 amend to an error from a warning to prevent a student being assigned multiple HUSIDs
  • (further updates to be included in upcoming sprints).

Business rule QR.C18051.Instance.INITIATIVES.5 has been deleted, as 'Troops to Teachers' is no longer a valid Initiative.

A revised *J data for UCAS file has been loaded into the system following an update by UCAS. This is used in various quality rules.

11 25 April 2019

The following reports have been updated for 2018/19 and are now available from the data collection dashboard:

  • Entry profile reports
  • Credibility reports

(Please note that the Graduate Outcomes report will no longer be available from the Student data collection dashboard. The functionality for reviewing the population information and returning contact details is now available via the Graduate Outcomes collection site).

10 11 April 2019

Validation kit updated to match Coding manual version 1.4 schema update.

Validation rule updates:

  • QR.Instance.HEAPESPOP.16 added to warn that Instance.HEAPESPOP is no longer required by OfS
  • QR.Instance.DOMICILE.3 amended due to optionality of Instance.HEAPESPOP
  • QR.Instance.HEAPESPOP.1/3/4/5/6/7/8/10/11/12/13 deleted due to optionality of Instance.HEAPESPOP
  • QR.Instance.INITIATIVES.37 amended to include doctoral loan students (COURSEAIMs D00, E00, L00)
  • QR.Instance.GROSSFEE.30, QR.Instance.NETFEE.7 and QR.Instance.SPECFEE.7 amended to incorporate postgradute nurses (COURSEAIM M16 and M86) with access to student loans into coverage exclusions and regulated fees eligibility respectively
  • QR.Instance.INITIATIVES.43 added to enforce coverage of INITIATIVE codes Z and 11 for HE providers in Wales.
09 29 March 2019

Validation rule updates:


  • QR.C18051.Instance.INITIATIVES.43/44/45
  • QR.C18051.Instance.SDEMPLOY.1/2
  • QR.C18051.Instance.SDLEAD.1/2/3 
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ENTRYRTE.10
  • QR.C18051.Instance.LOCSDY.18


  • QR.C18051.Engagement.ENGOUTCOME.1
  • QR.C18051.LearningDeliveryFAM.LEARNDELFAMTYPE.1
  • QR.C18051.Instance.Mobility.2
  • QR.C18051.Instance.FUNDCODE.15
  • QR.C18051.Instance.GROSFEE.25
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ITTPlacement.1/3
  • QR.C18051.Instance.INITIATIVES.31
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ENTRYRTE.5
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ITTPlacement.4

For full details of changes please refer to the Reason for change on individual rules.

07 28 February 2019
  • The latest UKPRN lookup table has been implemented. This will ensue EntryProfile.PEVINST.8 uses the latest version of UKPRNs from the UK register of learning providers
  • QR.C18051.Instance.LEARNPLANDDATE.5 has been amended to prevent the end date from being greater than 10 years after the start of instance
  • QR.C18051.Instance.INITIATIVES.11 has been amended to remove code C and add in codes Y and 12
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ENTRYRTE.9 has been added to ensure Schools Direct codes 02 and 03, and PG teaching apprenticeship code 10 are used only for postgraduate courses.
06 14 February 2019

The HUSID Lookup Service (HLS) has been updated.

The *J data for UCAS has now been been loaded into the system. This is used for a number of quality rules. 

04 10 January 2019

Release of updated validation kit to match the schema for Coding manual release version 1.3:

  • QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE, QUALTYPE and QUALSBJ valid entires added.
04 04 January 2019

Amended the following rule: 

  • QR.C18051.Course.COURSEAIM.17 - Display corrected to identify the failing instance count. Further guidance note added to highlight that this rule should not be switched. 
01 29 November 2018

ILR Output File (File for submsiion to the ESFA):

Release to fix bug 67214 with the ILR file generation tool. (OTJHours and AgreeId schema fixes).

Any providers that have experienced issues should ask for their submission to be reprocessed for the ILR output file fix to take effect.

80 6 November 2018

Amended/Added the following rules:

  • Amended all EYITT related rules to be warnings
    • QR.C18051.Course.COURSEAIM.15

    • QR.C18051.Course.MSFUND.9

    • QR.C18051.Instance.FEEREGIME.12

    • QR.C18051.Instance.FUNDCODE.15

    • QR.C18051.Instance.ITTPHSC.13

    • QR.C18051.QualificationsAwarded.OUTCOME.7

  • QR.C18051.Student.CARER.1 - providers in wales now in coverage

  • QR.C18051.Student.CARER.3 - add new rule to enforce coverage for providers in Wales.

78 5 October 2018 Release to fix bug 65066 with the ILR file generation tool. 
75 30 August 2018 A text change has been made to the ILR row on the dashboard to amend 'SFA' to 'ESFA'. Similarly, the ILR Generation file header has been fixed to read "ESFA/ILR/2018-19" (note that this went live on 24 August 2018).
74 16 August 2018

Amended the following rules:

  • QR.C18051.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.28 - QUALTYPEs IV and IU added to the business rule.
73 3 August 2018

The data collection system for the 2018/19 Student record is now open. 

The validation kit is now available. This will allow users to validate their XML against the revised schema that caters for Apprenticeship Standards. If you already have the validation kit installed there is no need to install a new version. If you do not currently have the validation kit installed, you can access it by going here. This includes the rolled-on business rules from the 2017/18 record. It also includes the following changes, to validation data for creating an ILR ready file:

  • QR.C18051.Instance.ILRCAMPID.1 - new rule for coverage of new field
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ILROTJHOURS.1 - new rule for coverage of new field
  • QR.C18051.Instance.ILROTJHOURS.2 - new rule for coverage of new field
  • QR.C18051.Instance.INITIATIVES.42 - amended the list of providers to match phase 2
  • QR.C18051.Instance.SSELIG.2 - rule deleted as SSELIG field has been deleted
  • QR.C18051.LearnerEmploymentStatus.ILRAGREEID.1 - new rule for validating new field
  • QR.C18051.LearnerEmploymentStatus.ILRAGREEID.2 - new rule for validationg new field

The data entry tool is also available. This is the program which will produce XML data in the format required for submission to HESA. 

The ILR file generation tool capability has been introduced in this release.The terms and conditions for using the ILR generation tool are available here: You are required to contact [email protected] to let us know if you would like to use the ILR generation tool. If you haven't informed us that you would like to opt-in, then the system will not allow you to send apprenticeship data and you will not be able to continue with your submission. 

Please note that access to the data collection system is governed by the Identity system. Users will need to ensure that they have the relevant permissions attached to their Identity system account in order to access the data collection system. 

Upcoming releases (C18051)
Month Scheduled areas of work
April 2019 Validation kit update to match Coding manual release 1.4 (2019-03-11)

Stages of data submission

Stage 1: Submitting and validating data

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.

Stage 2: Committing and decommitting data

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 211144

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

Stage 3: Credibility checks

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

Access the Minerva Data Quality database

Stage 4: Sign off

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.