Aggregate Offshore 2021/22: Support guide
This page provides an overview of the 2021/22 Aggregate Offshore collection (C21052).
This should be used alongside the C21052 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.
Aggregate Offshore overview
We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.
The Aggregate Offshore stream collects data about students studying wholly outside the UK who are either registered with or studying for an award of a UK higher education provider. 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 funding 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.
The collection database opens on the HESA data collection system (for HE providers) and the OfS portal (for FECs). OfS will send out separate communications regarding data collection to Unistats contacts.
For HESA Subscribers only:
You submit data via our online 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, track the progress of your submission, view data quality issues and download reports. An overview of the submission and validation process is given below. Further details are provided in the Coding manual under the 'Submission process and quality assurance' section heading.
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:
- User guides for our Identity System (IDS) and Issue Management System data quality database (HESA subscribers only).
- Support with using XML files
- Our XML amalgamator tool and Validation kits available for some collections.
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:
Data Collection System: release history and known issues
|Release ID||Release date||Release summary|
|97||24 August 2022||
The C21052 collection is now available for providers to submit data.
The following validation rule updates have been made:
|96||10 August 2022||
The validation kit for C21052 is now available with a roll on of the 2020/21 business rules. Rules will be updated for C21052 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 here.
The Data Entry Tool is now available for C21052. 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.
A high-level summary of the C21052 major component releases are highlighted below. This is a guide to the proposed sequence of releases only, and releases may occur before or after the month indicated depending on internal and external factors:
- Validation kit
- Data entry tool
- Quality rule updates
- Data collection system opens
- Credibility reports
- Commit functionality
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.