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Student 2019/20 - Student instance FTE

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Student 2019/20

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Student instance FTE

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Short nameSTULOAD

This field holds the measure of a student’s intensity of study (for this instance) during the reporting year 1 August - 31 July. The value can be recorded to one decimal place and must be between 0 and 300.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All instances where Instance.REDUCEDI = 00, 01 or 03.


Full time

Full-time, full year students, studying at the normal level of intensity for their level of course at the provider, would normally be returned with STULOAD 100. For providers operating a credit-based system we would generally expect that for undergraduate courses a STULOAD of 100 is recorded for a student studying 120 credits in a year.

Full-time students who are studying at a higher intensity and are therefore expected to complete their course more quickly than usual for their mode and level of course at the provider should be returned with a STULOAD higher than 100. For example, students on an accelerated degree programme which is studied over two years, rather than the usual three, would normally be expected to have a STULOAD of 150 for each year of study. Similarly, students retaking modules with attendance (i.e. repeating the teaching and learning), in addition to the normal load of modules for their course year should have a higher STULOAD to reflect this. We would not generally expect that the majority of students on a course had a STULOAD in excess of 100 in a year, unless the course is expected to be completed over a shorter period than is normally expected for similar courses at the provider. Where this is the case providers should be prepared to explain and evidence their approach to determining STULOAD.

Full-time students who are studying at lower intensity should similarly be returned with STULOAD lower than 100 to reflect this. For example, students on a degree programme which is studied over four years rather than the usual three would normally be expected to have a STULOAD of 75% (075.0).

All activity required to be undertaken should be accounted for when determining the STULOAD for a student. This includes learning in the workplace, such as professional placements, and compulsory modules that do not attract credits. These activities should be considered part of the activity for the course and for full-time students STULOAD should remain based on a comparison between the planned duration of the course compared to the standard duration for courses of the student’s mode and level at the provider. For example, students on a health and social care masters, studying a 180 credit masters but with additional work-based learning over two full-time years should be returned with a total STULOAD of 100 for each year of the course.

Part time

STULOAD for part-time students should be determined as a proportion of an equivalent full-time course.

Providers operating a credit points system should use the number of credit points studied from the current year of the part-time course compared with the number of credit points that may be obtained from the current year of a related full-time course to determining STULOAD. For example, where a full-time undergraduate degree comprises 120 credits in each year of study and the part-time equivalent comprises 90 credits then STULOAD for students studying for the whole year should be 100% (100.0) for the full-time students and 75% (075.0) for the part-time students.

Where providers do not use credits, the expected time taken to complete the course in comparison to an equivalent full-time course can be used to determine STULOAD. For example if there is a course leading to a certain qualification which normally requires three years of study for a conventional full-time student, and if that same qualification can be gained by part-time students in five years, the STULOAD returned for part-time students on the course would generally be 60% (060.0) each year.

Flexible provision

For students who study at their own pace rather than during a set timeframe or structure and therefore determine their own intensity of study it is not appropriate to assume that all students on the same course have the same STULOAD. Instead the STULOAD should be determined based on the number of credits studied within the reporting period in comparison to a full-time course. For providers operating a credit-based system we would expect this to be in comparison to 120 credits in a year for undergraduates or 180 credits for postgraduate masters.

Other scenarios

All students following a course would initially be assumed to have the same STULOAD. An adjustment should be made at individual student level if a student did not actually follow the whole course academic year, e.g. because they left halfway through. We would typically expect that this adjustment reflects the number of weeks of activity undertaken in comparison to the number expected for the reporting year. A more precise calculation is not required. For example, a full-time student who withdraws having studied for 12 weeks when 24 weeks of activity were planned should be returned with a STULOAD of 50% (050.0). If a student left shortly after registering but was confirmed to the SLC, STULOAD will need to be returned capturing the proportion of activity undertaken.

Students who have no activity to return during the entire year, for example because they were dormant, taking a leave of absence or resitting elements of assessment without attendance, would have a STULOAD of 0.

For providers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, when reporting students with an ENDDATE in a previous reporting year, Instance.MODE should not be updated. Therefore, it is acceptable for STULOAD to be 0 where a dormant mode has not been returned (i.e. where MODE is not 63/64 and the Instance.ENDDATE is in a previous reporting year).

STULOAD should be returned as 10 for both full-time and part-time students who have been writing-up for the full reporting year. Where a student has only been writing up for part of the year STULOAD should be adjusted to reflect the amount of time spent writing up, and other activity in the year. For example, a student who studies part-time at a 50% intensity for six months of the year and is then writing up for the other six months of the year, should have a STULOAD of 30 (50*6/12 + 10*6/12) returned.

For students undertaking Early Years ITT courses, if it is not possible to record their actual STULOAD, the DfE have indicated that it is permissible to return 100.0.

For students coded 'S - Studying abroad and included in the Student record as student has spent or will spend more than 8 weeks in the UK' in Instance.LOCSDY, Instance.STULOAD must reflect only that part of the course undertaken in the UK.

STULOAD should not be reduced for students on placements. For thick sandwich students out on a year's placement (code 23 in Instance.MODE) a Student FTE of 100.0 should be returned although Office for Students will assume an FTE of 050.0 in funding calculations. For certain analyses, however, the load on the provider for these students will be taken as either 050.0 or 000.0.

STULOAD of students who are taught under a collaborative or franchising arrangement should not be reduced to take account of this arrangement. For example, a full-time student franchised out for the whole year will (if within the scope of the return) be returned as 100.0 in this field. The franchising amount will be shown by Module.PCOLAB of the modules, returned, in this example, as 100.0.

The Student FTE should not be reduced for either incoming or outgoing exchange students. For example, a full-time outgoing exchange student would typically have a STULOAD of 100, as would a full-time incoming exchange student. To avoid overstating the STULOAD the FTE for incoming exchange students will typically be discounted in analysis, however by collecting the FTE for exchange students it will be possible to identify any imbalance.

For research postgraduates where there is no teaching input and unspecified time for completion, comparison should be made with the provider's norms for the full-time course, ignoring any extended writing-up period: for example, a PhD student with three years full-time study with a STULOAD of 100.0 and an additional writing-up year with a STULOAD of 010.0. The STULOAD of part-time PhD students should be determined with reference to the formal three years full-time study, ignoring the writing-up year. Hence a PhD student with six years part-time study would have a STULOAD of 050.0.

Where a student is studying a foundation degree bridging course STULOAD should be increased to reflect this. Where the bridging course spans HESA reporting years the load should all be returned in the second HESA reporting year, this differs from the method used for other non-standard academic years. Providers should also indicate in Instance.BRIDGE that the student has studied a foundation degree bridging course in the year in which the FTE is increased.

As STULOAD captures the activity in the reporting period, 1 August – 31 July, for providers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where years of instances cross reporting periods a proportion of the year’s activity undertaken within the reporting period needs to be returned. This does not have to be an exact pro-rata split: a reasonable approximation is sufficient.

Providers in Scotland can return the STULOAD for years of programme which span two HESA reporting years using either the pro-rata (50:50), 100:0 or 0:100 method as indicated in Instance.FTEMETHOD. In the case of course academic years which span two HESA reporting years (for example an MSc student with a 01 October - 30 September year), in principle, STULOAD should be split across the two HESA reporting years. However, provided that the load across the cost centres and the distribution between subjects for the student on the year of course will be similar in the parts of the year of the course which fall into the two HESA reporting years, and providing that providers do not count a full-time student as more than 100% (and the appropriate percentage for a part-time student) for any one year of course, providers do not have to split the FTE calculation over the 31 July boundary unless they choose to do so. For example (provided that the above conditions are satisfied), a student on a one-year course running from January 2020 to December 2020 could have a STULOAD of 100% shown in the 2019/20 Student record and a STULOAD of 0% shown in the 2020/21 Student Record. It must be emphasised that, under this option, records should be returned for the student in each of the HESA reporting years which are spanned by the year of course. If adopting this approach, providers must be consistent year on year as to the return in which they record the student FTE (for example, always counting it in the return for the first of the two HESA reporting years which the course academic year spans) and any departure from this would have to be justified to SFC and HESA.

If this option is chosen, the load across the cost centres and subjects relating to the course academic year as a whole will be assumed to fall in the one reporting year and a cost centre breakdown will not be sought for STULOADs of 000.0 shown for the other reporting year. Therefore, the cost centres, subjects and percentages shown should relate to the year of the course academic year as a whole and include allowances for the period which falls in the following HESA reporting year.

Where the pattern of cost centres or subjects involved may differ significantly between the parts of the course academic year that fall into the two HESA reporting years, or is unknown, for example, because of option choices, then providers should split the STULOAD between the two HESA reporting years, perhaps using a broad approximation.

Providers in Scotland are required to indicate the method used in calculating STULOAD in Instance.FTEMETHOD.

Providers in Scotland may give a STULOAD value for incoming exchange and visiting students since SFC allows providers to count incoming exchange and visiting students as eligible for funding and hence otherwise has to separately collect this information.


Example A student studying the equivalent of a three year course over five years would be returned as 60.

A student studying 30 credits in the current year, in the case where 120 credits is the norm for a full-time student, would be returned as 25.

Quality rules
Quality rules to follow
Reason required To allow analysis by FTE, representing student load, rather than by headcount or apportioned numbers; particularly significant for analysing load and allocations of funding for part-time students.
Part of
Field length5
Minimum occurrences0
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: STULOAD
Data type: FTEType
Date modified2020-05-19
Change management notesCoverage updated to remove Instance.FESTUMK = 5 as it is no longer used. Additionally guidance has been expanded to replace the 'Further detailed notes' document.

Contact Liaison by email or on 01242 211144.