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Student Alternative 2019/20 - Instance periodInstancePeriod

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Student Alternative 2019/20

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Instance period

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Short nameInstancePeriod

This records a specific unit of engagement within the student instance.

Applicable toEngland Scotland

All instances.


An Instance period is a cohesive and continuous unit of academic activity. Instance periods are defined by the provider but are typically analogous to the concept of a provider's academic year. Instance periods should be no longer than 12 months.

Where a provider charges fees on an annual basis, with no further breakdown or there are no clearly defined discrete units of activity within an instance it is recommended that instance periods are defined as academic years.

When academic activity naturally falls into smaller units, for example when a fee is charged for each of these units, providers may choose to return these units as instance periods. For example, a provider may elect to return semesters as instance periods. If it is anticipated that more than six instance periods will be required per twelve month period, please contact the Liaison team in advance of preparing the data submission.

A new instance period should be opened when a student makes substantial changes to their activity. In particular, a new instance period is necessary where:

  • Where study has been suspended and resumed

Example 1: a student commences study in October on a full-time Undergraduate course in Conservation. The student decides to suspend their studies in February where NOTACT 01 should be returned. They re-commence their studies in May on a full-time basis and consequently a new instance period is required.

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this entity are displayed here.
Reason required The instance is the central concept in the specification of the HESA Student Alternative record, and describes the attributes of the interaction between the student and course in pursuit of a qualification or credit. The instance period allows the return of cyclical data within the student experience.
Part of
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrencesunbounded
Schema components
Element: InstancePeriod
Has parts
Change management notesGuidance has been updated to add clarification.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.