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Student 2021/22 - Highest qualification on entry

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Student 2021/22

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Highest qualification on entry

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valid entries
Short nameQUALENT3

This field indicates the highest qualification that a student holds on entry, not necessarily that applicable for entry to the course.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All entrants where Instance.REDUCEDI = 00, 01 or 04.

Valid entries and labels
DUKUK doctorate degree
DZZNon-UK doctorate degree
D80Other qualification at level D
MUKUK masters degree
MZZNon-UK masters degree
M2XIntegrated undergraduate/postgraduate taught masters degree on the enhanced/extended pattern
M41Diploma at level M
M44Certificate at level M
M71Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma in Education
M80Other taught qualification at level M
M90Taught work at level M for provider credit
HUKUK first degree with honours
HZZNon-UK first degree
H11First degree with honours leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC)
H71Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
H80Other qualification at level H
JUKUK ordinary (non-honours) first degree
J10Foundation degree
J20Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
J30Higher National Diploma (HND)
J49Foundation course at level J
J48Certificate in Education (CertEd) or Diploma in Education (DipEd) (i.e. non-graduate initial teacher training qualification)
J80Other qualification at level J
C20Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)
C30Higher National Certificate (HNC)
C44Higher Apprenticeship (level 4)
C80Other qualification at level C
C90Undergraduate credits
P41Diploma at level 3
P42Certificate at level 3
P46Award at level 3
P47AQA Baccalaureate (Bacc)
P50A/AS level
P5114-19 Advanced Diploma (level 3)
P53Scottish Baccalaureate
P54Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers
P62International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
P63International Baccalaureate (IB) Certificate
P64Cambridge Pre-U Diploma
P65Cambridge Pre-U Certificate
P68Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma (level 3)
P80Other qualification at level 3
P91Level 3 qualifications of which some or all are subject to UCAS Tariff
P92Level 3 qualifications of which none are subject to UCAS Tariff
P93Level 3 qualifications of which all are subject to UCAS Tariff
P94Level 3 qualifications of which some are subject to UCAS Tariff
Q5114-19 Higher Diploma (level 2)
Q52Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma (level 2)
Q80Other qualification at level 2
R5114-19 Foundation Diploma (level 1)
R52Welsh Baccalaureate Foundation Diploma (level 1)
R80Other qualification at level 1
X00Higher education (HE) access course, Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised
X01Higher education (HE) access course, not Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised
X02Mature student admitted on basis of previous experience and/or admissions test
X04Other qualification level not known
X05Student has no formal qualification
X06Not known

For students entering through UCAS this information will be available from UCAS via the UCAS data for HESA (*J) transaction.

This field is required for all EntryProfile entities submitted. Prior to 2014/15, students could be submitted using the coding frames in either EntryProfile.QUALENT2 or EntryProfile.QUALENT3, but with the removal of the EntryProfile.QUALENT2 field, EntryProfile.QUALENT3 becomes compulsory for all records where an EntryProfile entity is submitted. Where an EntryProfile has been submitted in previous years, there is no need to resubmit this entity purely to update this information - previous EntryProfile.QUALENT2 information will be automatically remapped to the newer coding frame. Where this entity is submitted for new or continuing instances, however, EntryProfile.QUALENT3 must be completed.

EntryProfile.QUALENT3 records a student's highest qualification on entry to the instance. It should NOT be updated to reflect qualifications gained during the instance. Providers in England need to consider qualifications gained by students during the instance to establish ELQ status, but should not subsequently update EntryProfile.QUALENT3. Any potential change to fundability status as a result of ELQ should be reflected year-on-year within Instance.FUNDCODE.

For guidance on the use of academic qualification codes in EntryProfile.QUALENT3, providers should refer to the guidance for Course.COURSEAIM, as it was always intended that the two coding frames be closely linked. For guidance on the use of the vocational qualification codes, colleagues can refer to the recently revised Framework for Higher Education Qualifications QAA publication Qualifications can cross boundaries - a rough guide to comparing qualifications in the UK and Ireland.

If the provider is unsure as to how to code an overseas qualification, because it does not clearly fall into the QUALENT3 categories, they may wish to seek advice from UK ENIC ( about the relative level, and code the qualification accordingly. UK ENIC advise on the comparability of a qualification to an equivalent on the UK level system - this information can then be used to assign a generic '(x)80' code at the appropriate level.

If the student has not yet received a formal award, but the provider has seen the transcript given by the awarding body of the qualification that contains all the necessary information, this can be reflected in EntryProfile.QUALENT3

These data are used extensively in publications including Unistats and in the PI benchmarks.

Guidance on the use of P80

  • P80 Other qualification at Level 3

Where a student’s highest qualification on entry is at level 3 and no other code is appropriate, this should be coded P80. Consequently, students holding UK qualifications should not be allocated to P80 as another P code will be applicable. Students recorded as P80 will typically be international students with non-UK qualifications.

P80 should be returned where the student holds multiple non-UK qualifications at level 3 as their highest qualification on entry, irrespective of whether those qualifications are subject to UCAS Tariff. Where a student has a mixture of UK qualifications subject to UCAS Tariff and non-UK qualifications at Level 3 as their highest qualification on entry, the code P94 should be used.

Guidance on the use of P91, P92, P93, and P94

The following codes are available for the coding of students who may have multiple UK Level 3 qualifications as their highest qualification on entry:

  • P92 UK Level 3 qualifications of which none are subject to UCAS Tariff
  • P93 UK Level 3 qualifications of which all are subject to UCAS Tariff
  • P94 Level 3 qualifications of which some are UK qualifications subject to UCAS Tariff

Code 'P92 UK Level 3 qualifications of which none are subject to UCAS Tariff’ relates to the type of qualification. This code should not be used in cases where the student holds non-tariff bearing grades for a tariff-bearing qualification. In these circumstances the appropriate P code for the level 3 qualification or P93/P94 should be used in EntryProfile.QUALENT3.

UK Level 3 qualifications that cannot be matched to a QUALTYPE will not be subject to UCAS tariff and should therefore be treated as P92, or P94 if the student has another UK level 3 qualification that does attract tariff.

P93 and P94 were introduced for 2012/13 to replace the previously available code P91 'Level 3 qualifications of which some or all are subject to UCAS Tariff'. This code is still valid for continuing student instances, and it is not a requirement to recode to P93 and P94, but providers may choose to do so if they wish.

P91 'Level 3 qualifications of which some or all are subject to UCAS Tariff' is not valid for instances with a Instance.COMDATE on or after 2012-08-01.

For providers who receive the UCAS data for HESA (*J) transaction, the QUALENT3 value within the *J file will be populated from the associated UCAS apply data to derive a QUALENT3 value of P93 or P94. Providers can then update this coding where further qualifications on entry information has been obtained from the entrant.

No hierarchy is implied in level 3 qualifications. If a mixture of qualifications are relevant, then use code P92, P93 or P94 rather than any single qualification included, such as A/AS level. Please be aware that P92 may be used as a filter to exclude instances with no tariffable qualifications from calculations of UCAS tariff. P93 or P94 are acceptable as a general code for qualifications, or mixtures of qualifications, that are subject to tariff (the detail of qualifications should be returned in the QualificationsOnEntry entity).

Please note that the Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design is a qualification offered at both level 3 and level 4.

Further guidance for specific codes:

X00 'Higher education (HE) access course, Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised', and X01 'Higher education (HE) access course, not Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised':

A recognised Access to HE course is one validated by an Authorised Validating Agency, licensed for the purpose by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) under the terms of the QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Relevant Access courses are recorded on the Access to HE Courses Database. QAA does not licence any AVAs in Scotland.

Access courses at providers in Scotland can only be coded X01 'Higher education (HE) access course, not Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) recognised'.

J10 'Foundation degree'

Code J10 covers those programmes providers are running as foundation degrees, which are consistent with the 'Statement of Design Principles' for foundation degrees issued by UUK and GuildHE.

X02 'Mature student admitted on basis of previous experience and/or admissions test'

Code X02 should only be used where the student does not have any formal qualifications at level 3 or above. For students holding qualifications at level 3 or above who are admitted on the basis of APL or an admissions test, the relevant code for their level 3 or above qualifications should be used in preference to X02.

X06 'Not known'

Code X06 should not be used as a default. Providers are expected to seek and code the highest qualification on entry.

Full information, where available should be reported in QualificationsOnEntry.

HEPs in England

For Office for Students fundable students (Instance.FUNDCODE=1 or 4) it is expected that the highest qualification on entry will be known, as without these data it is not possible to determine whether or not the student falls under the ELQ policy. Details of the ELQ policy can be found in HESES Annex G, which can be downloaded via the Office for Students website http://www.Office for

Some students are exempt from the ELQ policy, for example those on foundation degrees. Whilst the requirement for highest qualification on entry data for these students is less, Office for Students would still expect providers to make reasonable endeavours to ensure that these data are as precise as possible. This is because these students may move from an exempt to a non-exempt category, at which point their highest qualification would be relevant in determining their fundability. Notwithstanding the increased granularity in this field it is still not possible, in all cases, to fully determine whether or not a student is an ELQ solely using EntryProfile.QUALENT3 and Course.COURSEAIM (e.g. where the student has gained a qualification since starting their instance this could lead to them becoming an ELQ, but would not be reflected in EntryProfile.QUALENT3).

For codes P91, P93 and P94, Office for Students expect to see entries in the QualificationsOnEntry entity.

Office for Students use qualification on entry data to inform funding. Since 2005-06 students with unknown entry qualifications have received zero weighting in the widening participation and improving retention funding streams. In particular, where students have entered via UCAS with qualifications that are made available by UCAS for inclusion on the HESA Student record which are not returned by providers Office for Students may give them a zero weight.

Quality rules
Quality rules to follow
Reason required This field, together with information in QualificationsOnEntry gives information about a student's qualifications on entry to a course. It is also used to identify students with tariff-bearing qualifications and non-traditional qualifications for analyses. Used to support funding allocations and to calculate the National Statistic - Higher Education Initial Participation Rate.
Part of
Field length3
Minimum occurrences0
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: QUALENT3
Date modified2022-03-23
Change management notesGuidance has been updated to advise that P80 is now only to be used for non-UK qualifications, and P92/93/94 are for UK qualifications only.

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