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Student 2021/22 - HESA unique student identifier

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Student 2021/22

Fields required from institutions in All fields

HESA unique student identifier

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Short nameHUSID

This field records the student identifier which is to be unique to each student. It is intended that the identifier is to be transferred with the student to each provider of higher education he or she may attend. The objective is that the use of this number will facilitate the accurate tracking of students throughout their experience within the sector for which HESA collects data.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All students


Students included on a previous year's return must retain the previously used HUSID.

Previously, students entering higher education through UCAS have had their HUSID automatically derived from their UCAS application number. Development of the new UCAS Application Identifier means that it is no longer possible to generate a unique HUSID in this manner. Therefore all students having a HUSID allocated from 2007/08 onwards should now have a HUSID allocated using the same algorithm, irrespective of how they came to enter HE. The algorithm to use is the one previously used for students that did not enter through UCAS.

Students entering a course of study should be asked whether they have a previous HESA unique student identifier, and if so this identifier should be used. This will commonly be the situation for new postgraduates moving on from undergraduate study. If students are unable to recall their student identifier, the HUSID look-up service should be used to determine any previously allocated HUSID.

Students whose details have previously been returned to HESA by the reporting provider MUST keep the same unique student identifier in future returns. For students whose details have previously been returned to HESA by another provider, the same unique student identifier should be used if this is known. This is to facilitate the possibility of backward tracking within previous data sets. Where the previous number is not known, or there is any doubt about its accuracy, providers are NOT expected to seek student identifiers from previous providers but should use the HUSID look-up service.

For direct entrants, once a number has been allocated it should never be re-used, even in the case of students who leave the provider without completing their studies.

Students who move from one provider to another should keep their original student identifier. Where the previous HE student identifier is in direct entry format, the number must NOT be changed to reflect the current provider's identifier. This is to ensure that the student identifier remains unique and to allow tracking of the student through the use of the same unique student identifier.

Linkage between different years of a student instance will be through the UHN. The UHN is a combination of three main identifier fields, the Institution.UKPRN (provider), Student.HUSID (person), and Instance.NUMHUS (instance), which uniquely identify a student on a course leading to a course aim. Further guidance on the importance of maintaining the UHN link across years can be found here.

A national framework for post-compulsory education student identifiers is being developed as a part of the Managing Information Across Partners (MIAP) programme. It is envisaged that the HESA student identifier will be replaced in due course.

The structure of the HESA student identifier is created as follows:

First 2 digits:Year of entry into provider (last 2 digits of year)
Next 4 digits:HESA institution identifier + 1000
Next 6 digits:6 digit reference number internally allocated by provider.
Last digit:Check digit.

Although the Student Record now utilises the Institution.UKPRN as a provider identifier, providers should continue to use the old HESA identifier code for this calculation since the structure of the new identifier is not compatible with this algorithm.

HESA Provider identifier (INSTID)

This is a four-digit identifier number assigned to providers by HESA. A list of all providers who have submitted to HESA across all time (since HESA's creation) can be downloaded in a CSV file from the "All HESA Providers" web page. This includes provider name, INSTID and UKPRN.

Calculation of Check Digit

The check digit is calculated using the first 12 digits and provides a means of detecting errors of transcription. To calculate the check digit, each of the first 12 digits is multiplied by a weight which depends on its position in the number, and the resulting products added. The check digit is then obtained by subtracting the final digit of the resulting sum from ten.

If the final digit of the sum of the products is 0, the check digit would be the final digit after the subtraction i.e. 10 - 0 = 10, check digit is 0.

The weights used are :

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9

For example, in October 2007 a student enters Poppleton University is allocated the internal number 123456. The check digit calculation for the student's reference number, 071064123456, would be calculated as :

Number0 7 1 0 6 4 1 2 3 4 5 6
Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9
Product 0 21 7 0 6 12 7 18 3 12 35 54

The sum of the products is 175, the final digit being 5, so the check digit is 10 - 5, or 5. The full identifier is therefore 0710641234565.


An entrant to Leeds Metropolitan University in 2007 might have a HUSID of 0710641234565

A student who entered through UCAS in 1997 might have a HUSID of 0000971234561

Quality rules
Quality rules to follow
Reason required The most significant key into the set of records for file management and record linkage. Required to ensure that students are only counted once when there is a chance of double counting.
Part of
Field length13
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: HUSID
Data type: HUSIDType
Date modified2022-02-09
Change management notesGuidance added to provide information around the HESA Provider identifier (INSTID). Additionally a link has been added to enable the download of the CSV file that contains all HESA providers.

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