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Student 2021/22: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2021/22 Student collection (C21051).

This should be used alongside the C21051 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

Need help? Contact us by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531 

Student overview

We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.

The Student stream collects data about students studying at higher education providers in the UK. Details of which students need to be returned to us are included in the Coverage document found in the Coding manual.

The data we collect on behalf of the sector is provided to governments and fundng bodies in order to support the regulation of higher education. We also make anonymised data available to the public to enhance understanding of UK higher education and to support its advancement

Our coding manuals provide you with all the necessary documentation to support your data return. The coding manual contains technical documents giving detailed information on the record's coverage, data specification and submission formats. Familiarising yourself with these documents will help you make an accurate and timely return.

Each collection has its own coding manual which can be found in the Data collection section of our site. By default, you will land on the open collection for each record; you can then select previous or future years.

The coding manuals will be updated throughout the data collection cycle and Record Contacts informed by email when new versions are made live. Be sure to check the manual's Revision history for a summary of changes.

You submit data via our Data Collection system. To access this, you will need to have an appropriate role in our Identity System (IDS). We publish an IDS user guide which includes information on creating and editing your account.

You will need to be given access to the Data Collection system by the relevant Record Contact at your provider.

Once you have access to the system you will be able to upload files and track the progress of the collection.

The coding manual homepage includes all the technical information you require, including:

  • The data specification
  • File format specifications
  • A detailed collection schedule
  • Our XML data entry tool (available for some streams)
  • Quality rules.

This Support guides page collects together the following resources:

  • User guide
  • Data collection system: Known issues and release history.

In the Support area of the HESA website, you can find:

Our Data innovation section includes information about:

  • Open and recently completed record reviews, including information about changes we are implementing
  • Our Data Futures programme which will transform the higher education information landscape.

In the About section, you can find:


Our expert analysts have a thorough understanding of our records and processes. We are here to support you throughout the data submission process.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531 

Find out more about Liaison

Our JISCMail groups allow you to discuss specific streams with colleagues from across the sector. We also use the lists to circulate news regarding data requirements and coding manual and validation kit releases.

Join the HESA-Student JISCMail list

If you encounter any problems, contact Liaison

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved
(ID 133140) QR.Student.DISABLE.6 (Student.DISABLE must not exist where any Instance.REDUCEDI not 00 or 01). Rule is triggering where any Instance.REDUCEDI not 00 or 01. This is preventing the return of Student.DISABLE if more than one Instance is associated with the student and one instance is in coverage. A ticket has been raised to change the rule to 'Student.DISABLE must not exist where all Instance.REDUCEDI not 00 or 01', so that students with an Instance in coverage can return DISABLE as per the field's coverage statement.  Resolved  12 May 18 May

(ID 133157) In line with QR.Student.DISABLE.6 (above) the following introduced reverse coverage rules will be re-assessed for a change to the Instance.REDUCEDI clause to 'all Instance.REDUCEDI not in...' 

QR.Student.ETHNIC.20 and 19; QR.Student.SEXORT.6; QR.Student.RELBLF.13; QR.Student.GENDERID.5.

Open 12 May  

(ID 133196) QR.Instance.ENDDATE.19 (For providers in England, Wales or Northern Ireland where the Instance.ENDDATE is a date that is before the previous reporting year (less than 01-08-Y1(-1)) and the Instance.STULOAD was greater than 0 in the previous reporting year. The end date must also be a date in the previous reporting year) may be triggering incorrectly where a STULOAD and ENDDATE was not provided for a dormant student in the previous reporting period. A ticket has been raised to investigate.

Open 12 May   

(ID 132771) QR.Student.SEXORT.6 (Student.SEXORT must not exist for students at providers in England where Instance.REDUCEDI = 08), although triggering as it is intended, has been incorrectly published as (Student.SEXORT must not exist for students at providers in England except where Instance.REDUCEDI = 08). The description will be corrected.

Resolved 29 Apr 04 May
(ID 132290) QR.Instance.INITIATIVES.43 (For providers in Wales, Instance.INITIATIVES must be coded K, N, Q, Z or 11) does not appear to be triggering correctly. This is being investigated.  Resolved

27 Apr

04 May

(ID 132546) QR.Student.ETHNIC.20 (For providers in England, Student.ETHNIC must not exist where (EntryProfile.DOMICILE exists and is not in ((XF, XG, XH, XI, XK, XL, GG, JE, IM) and Course.TTCID does not equal 1)) or (Instance.REDUCEDI does not equal 00, 01, or 08) is not triggering correctly. It is not excluding NULL Domicles. This is being investigated. 

The equivalent rule for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, QR.Student.ETHNIC.19, is also being investigated. 

Resolved 27 Apr 04 May
The Schema datatype YEARTYPE requires the maximum value to be updated to 2022 from 2021. This is currently affecting YRLLINST in the validation kit, if 2022 is submitted. The schema will be updated in the version 1.6 coding manual release.  Resolved 09 Mar 21 Mar
Release ID Release date Release summary
91 18 May 2022

The following quality rules have been deleted, added or amended:


  • EntryProfile.CARELEAVER.3 and .4


Instance.FEEREGIME.22 (Scotland only)

  • Course.AWARDBOD.10


  • C21051.Instance.STULOAD.2 and .13
90 04 May 2022

The Exception rules, using rolled-on static data from C20051 have been enabled, following a roll-on of last year's derived fields. The static data that underpin these rules will be updated in future sprints as it is received from external organisations. Notifications will be issued when each static data source has been updated using latest available data. (The *J data for UCAS fields has been loaded into the system for C21051).

The Continuity process has been added to the process chain, and as a result the Continuity stage rules have been rolled-on and released. and the Continuity (expected instances population) report is now available. 

The XTPOINTs library has been updated and released based upon the values in the UCAS tariff point aggregation field  XTPOINTS_1.21.1.(

The Entry Profile report, enabling providers to review missing entry profile data, has been updated and is available via the data collection system.

89 21 Apr 2022

The following quality rules have been amended or added:


  • Instance.FUNDCODE.21
  • Instance.INITIATIVES.6
  • Instance.INITIATIVES.11
  • Instance.INITIATIVES.31
  • Instance.INITIATIVES.43
  • Instance.ITTPHSC.7
  • Instance.ITTPHSC.12
  • Instance.TREFNO.7
  • Instance.LOCSDY.5
  • CouseSubject.SBJCA.7
  • CourseSubject.SBJCA.25
  • CouseSubject.SBJCA.27
  • CourseSubject.SBJCA.28
  • CourseSubject.ITTSUBJECT.1


  • Instance.INITIATIVES.57
  • Instance.INITIATIVES.58

The following rules have been added to prevent the return of personal data outside of the stated field coverage:

  • EntryProfile.RELIGION.3
  • Student.RELBLF.13
  • Student.ETHNIC.19
  • Student.ETHNIC.20
  • Student.DISABLE.6
  • Student.GENDERID.5
  • Student/SEXORT.6
88 05 Apr  2022

The following quality rules have been amended or deleted:


  • Student.NATIOND.2 - amended to prevent the submission of this field by all providers


  • Student.NATIOND.1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
87 24 Mar 2022 The validation kit has been updated to match the QualificationsOnEntry.QULAGRADE and QULATYPE additions released in Coding manual version 1.5 (22/03/2022).
86 09 Mar 2022

The following quality rules have been added, amended or deleted:


  • Student.GENDERID.4, SEXORT.5, RELBLF.11 and 12, SERSTU.3, LANGPREF.1


  • Student.GENDERID.3, SEXORT.4, EntryProfile.PARED.10, 11 and 12


  • Instance.ENDDATE.16
85 24 Feb 2022

The Data Collection system for C21051 has been enabled with the 'Send data' functionality to validate against this year's schema and the rolled-on business rules, based on their final position of 2020/21 (C20051).

The validation kit is available with a roll-on of the 2020/21 business rules. Rules will be updated for C21051 through future iterative releases. If you already have the validation kit installed there is no need to install a new version. If you do not currently have the validation kit installed, you can access it by going here.

Please note that access to the data collection system is governed by the Identity system. Users will need to ensure that they have the relevant permissions attached to their Identity system account in order to access the data collection system.

The updated HUSID Lookup Service is available from the drop down at the top of the Data Collection System page, containing students from the 202021 collection. Please see the HUSID lookup support page for further information at

The Data Entry Tool is live. This is the program which will produce XML data in the format required for submission to HESA. The link will be added to the next release of the coding manual, but can be downloaded here:

Following changes to the C21051 schema, or coverage changes in the coding manual, the following quality rules have been deleted:

  • EntryProfile.PARED.7, Instance.ITTSCHMS.1-5, Instance.ITTPHSC2 and 3, Instance.FESTUMK.3 and10, Instance.FUNDCODE.18, Instance.FEEREGIME.21, Instance.INITIATIVES.32/56

A high-level summary of the C21051 major external component releases is highlighted below.

This is a guide to the proposed sequence, and releases may occur before, or after, the month indicated dependent on internal and external factors.


  • HUSID lookup service


  • Data entry tool
  • Validation kit based on current year schema, with business rules rolled-on from last year 
  • Roll-on of collection and opening of the Data Collection System with rules and rule compare functionality 


  • Addition new constituent HE providers to Data Collection System drop-down
  • First release of business rule updates to match coding manual schema and coverage updates 
  • * J for UCAS loaded into the system for validation 


  • Business rules to match coding manual schema and coverage updates 
  • XTPOINTs library updated to validate against QualificationOnEntry.QUALTYPES 
  • Qualifications on Entry and Continuity Register update 
  • Continuity stage rules roll-on
  • Roll-on of exception rules (that are not depended upon derived fields)
  • Entry Profile report


  • Business rules to match coding manual schema and coverage updates 
  • Derived field implementation 
  • Further release of exception rules following derived field development 


  • Quality rule updates 
  • Exception rule updates using available external static data 
  • Frequency Counts report [Moved from May to June]
  • Data Supply report 
  • Expected Instances population report  
  • PGR transfers Out report 
  • Credibility reports roll-on 


  • IRIS reports 
  • DfE webservice 
  • Cost Centre, Campus, Collaborative Franchise, Institutional information reports 
  • Credibility reports updates 
  • Revision to XTPOINTs appendix (if required) 


  • Unistats report, NSS (draft) report 
  • Commit functionality and Sign-off form available 
  • PGR transfers In report (when Commit is available) 


  • Credibility checking 

Stages of data submission

A. Sending data

Send data by clicking on the 'send data' button in the data collection system. Note that actions not currently available will be greyed out.

Data collection system - Process flow

Browse your computer to locate the file you wish to submit, and upload the file to the data collection system. 


  • Files can have any name
  • Files must be in XML and conform to the relevant XML Schema Definition (XSD) file
  • Files can be compressed using PKZip/WinZip which will significantly reduce the upload time
  • Only a single file can be held on the system.

B. Validation

Automated validation checks (quality rules) will now run.

Further details on the quality rules which apply to this collection can be found in the coding manual.

The Quality rules report will contain the details of any rules triggered by the submission. Make any necessary amendments to the data and resubmit the file to the system. To pass validation, the file must not trigger any validation errors.

You can run some of these validation checks through our validation kit before submitting data to the data collection system. The kit enables you to test your data locally against schema and business stage validation rules prior to submission. You are strongly encouraged to use the validation kit as part of your data preparations.

Remember that you need to process and pass the business-stage validation in order to meet the requirements of the return deadline.

How to obtain a switch

When errors are triggered in the Data Collection system but the data has been checked and is genuine, you need to request a switch. This is because your file will not pass the validation requirements of the collection deadlines if there are any remaining errors.

Please email your switch request to Liaison, stating which rule is causing the error to be triggered and for how many records, together with an explanation as to why the data is genuine.

This will then be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for them to review. They may agree the switch, ask for more information or state how they wish the data to be returned so that an error is no longer triggered.

This request should be sent well in advance of any deadline, to allow sufficient time for a decision to be made.

When a switch has been agreed, it will be applied to your data for the count specified and the data will be reprocessed. This will resolve the error.

If the count increases, the rule will be triggered again, and you will need to request that the count on the switch be increased. This will be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for approval.

To proceed to the next stage in the submission process, a valid file needs to have been submitted. The data will then be classed as 'committable' and the option to process a COMMIT transaction will be made available through the data collection system.  

Prior to committing data, you should review all of the reports produced on the data collection system and make any necessary corrections to the data.

The COMMIT transaction sends a copy of your submission to our data quality assurance team and, where appropriate, to the relevant funding council. We analyse your return in parallel with your own analysis.


A passed commit transaction will lock the system to prevent the data from being amended. This is to allow our data quality assurance team to analyse the submission. To unlock the system you will need to request a DECOMMIT transaction.

Request a decommit by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531

Remember that you need to process and pass a COMMIT transaction in order to meet the requirements of the commit deadline.

Once we have analysed your committed return, data quality queries will be posted onto the Issue Management System data quality database. Relevant users will be notified by email when these queries are available to view. The Issue Management System user guide provides help on using the Issue Management System.

Access the Issue Management System data quality database

Once your data has passed all the stages of validation, and any issues highlighted during credibility checking have been addressed, we will set the return to CREDIBLE. This produces the sign-off form.

When data is set to credible, a link to the sign-off form is automatically emailed to the head of the submitting organisation as well as the appropriate record contact. The form should be completed and signed by the head of the reporting organisation and returned to us by email or post. This verification offers both you and us assurances regarding onward use of the data.

Sign-off completes the data collection process.