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Student 2020/21 - Student instance identifier

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Student 2020/21

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Student instance identifier

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Short nameNUMHUS

This field complements the HUSID field to identify the separate courses that individuals take. Provider identifier + HUSID + NUMHUS together form a unique identifier known as UHN. An identification of the basic unit of 'a coherent engagement with the provider aiming towards the award of a qualification(s) or credit' which is described in the Understanding UHN document.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All instances


Field length 20 is to allow providers to use an instance identifier already held internally. Where a instance identifier held internally is used, providers must continue to use this number even when transfers or natural progressions occur. As a consequence of this providers may find it easier to number student instances sequentially starting from 1 or A etc. A new instance number format can only be introduced for instances that have not been returned to HESA. This will be the case for new entrants and for continuing students commencing courses that have not previously been returned to HESA.

Further guidance on the importance of maintaining the UHN link across years can be found in the Understanding UHN document.

Valid characters

The valid characterset available for this field follows the Data Standards in the HESA student record.

  • The general policy is to support all Latin-based characters for names, addresses and general text fields, but not non-Latin characters.
  • All Unicode code charts for Latin characters are supported. These are Basic Latin (excluding the C0 control characters), Latin-1 (excluding the C1 control characters), Latin Extended A, Latin Extended B and Latin Extended Additional. This set corresponds to Unicode code points U+0020 to U+007E, U+00A0 to U+024F and U+1E00 to U+1EFF.
  • Schemas are built in such a way that an individual project can further restrict the set if required.

The character set chosen will support Welsh and Gaelic languages as well as all European and most other languages using a Latin-based character set.

The Unicode charts that list each of the characters in this range can be found on the Unicode web site. The specific sets that are defined here are shown in the following PDF documents:

Files must be encoded with UTF-8 and schema validation will be in place to ensure this. Providers must specify the encoding used in their XML files in the first line of the file (i.e. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>) and to ensure that their files are actually saved with that encoding. If XML files are edited with some text editors and the encoding is not specified or does not match the actual file encoding, there may be problems when submitting these files for validation.


Detailed examples of UHN linking can be found in the Understanding UHN document.

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this entity are displayed here.
Reason required To distinguish - and between years, link - episodes of study by the same student at the same provider; a vital tool (through the generation of UHN) to support year-on-year linkage, for example to link entities in the HESA record and for Unistats. Used in the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEPPR) calculation by BIS and funding calculations by Office for Students, Research England and HEFCW.
Part of
Field length20
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: NUMHUS
Data type: NUMHUSType

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