Section 12 Additional guidance for recording Higher Education Data
Contents
Types of Engagement
Several of the fields in the ILR Learner Delivery HE entity refer to the concept of an ‘engagement’ or ‘year of engagement’ which are defined as follows:
Engagement
For HE, an ‘engagement’ is a student's commitment to an educational aim (qualification or credit) and its realisation over time. In previous years guidance on HE data, including the HESES guidance produced by the Office for Students, has referred to ‘instance’ rather than engagement. The concepts are very similar and this change in terminology should not require significant changes in practices for collecting and maintaining HE data for the ILR.
Students may progress from their original educational aim within the broad level descriptions (Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research) to a higher qualification level (e.g. progressing from level 5 to 6).
In these cases, the activity can be considered part of the same Engagement where the student continues studying on the new educational aim within a year of the end date of the previous educational aim. Alternatively, if the provider does not consider the activity to be a coherent progression, a new engagement can be returned.
Exceptionally, a student may be on two courses at the same time, aiming for two independent HE qualifications. In this case, there are two engagements and fields such as MODESTUD and STULOAD should be determined independently for each qualification.
Students on higher apprenticeships will typically be working towards more than one learning aim. These are not independent and the apprenticeship as a whole should be treated as one engagement. Further guidance on how activity for higher apprenticeship should be accounted for in determining MODESTUD and STULOAD is provided in the specification.
Year of Engagement
An engagement can be split into one or more ‘years of engagement’. The first year of engagement begins when the student starts studying towards the qualification(s); subsequent years start on or near the anniversary of this date (allowing for minor variations in term dates).
Mode of Study Definition
Assessing attendance for mode
‘Attendance’ means that the student is required to be at a provider location, or other specified location (such as a partner provider, or defined workplace) to undertake periods of study, tuition, learning in the workplace, or sandwich work placement. These locations are expected to be collective for all students on the course (that is, virtual attendance does not meet the definition of attendance), except where alternative arrangements are made because a student is unable to attend for a reason that relates to their disability.
Distance learning courses
A ‘distance learning course’ means a course on which a student undertaking the course is not required to be in attendance by the provider of the course, where ‘required to be in attendance’ is not satisfied by a requirement imposed by the provider to attend any provider location (or other specified location):
• for the purposes of registration or enrolment or any examination
• on a weekend or during any vacation
• on an occasional basis during the week.
FullTime
A year of engagement is counted as fulltime if it meets all of the following criteria:

The student is normally required to attend the provider, or elsewhere, for periods amounting to at least 24 weeks within the year of engagement, within that time they are expected to undertake periods of study, tuition, learning in the workplace, or sandwich work placement that does not meet the criteria to be sandwich year out, which amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week. (‘Guided learning hours’ should not be used in isolation to determine how many hours each week a student spends studying. All guided learning hours count towards this total, but it is expected that higher education students will spend a significant amount of time each week in selfled individual learning, and an estimate of this time should also be included.)

Fulltime fees are chargeable for the course for the year. Exceptionally, all or part of the fee may be waived for individual students based on their particular personal  rather than courserelatedcircumstances. This does not include cases where fees are reduced because students are studying less intensively than is normally expected for a fulltime student. It should not be waived for all students on a course, and the criteria that determine if fees may be waived should not be tantamount to waiving them for all students.
We recognise that the concept of a fulltime fee may not be meaningful for some higher education provision. Further guidance on determining mode of study for learning aims as part of a higher level apprenticeship is provided below. For other higher education learning aims we would expect that fulltime students are charged a higher level of fee than parttime students on a similar course. Providers should also be mindful that generally where a student is charged a lower fee than a fulltime student with the same learning aim, other than cases where all or part of the fee is waived for individual students based on their particular personal circumstances, we would expect mode of study to be parttime.
Sandwich year out
A year of engagement is counted as a ‘sandwich year out’ if it includes a period of workbased experience and meets all the following criteria:

The course falls within the definition of a ‘sandwich course’ in Regulation 2(10) of the Education(Student Support) Regulations 2011 (Statutory Instrument 2011 No. 1986) as amended, or theyear of engagement is an Erasmus+/Turing Scheme year abroad spent working

It is a year of engagement that fulfills one of the following: Any periods of fulltime study within the year of engagement are in aggregate less than 10 weeks or In respect of that year of engagement and any previous years of engagement, the aggregate of any one or more periods of attendance which are not periods of fulltime study (disregarding intervening vacations) exceeds 30 weeks.

A reduced fee is chargeable for the course for the year, compared with what would be chargeable if the student were studying fulltime in the year.
Part Time
A year of engagement is counted as parttime if it does not meet the requirements to be either fulltime or a sandwich year out.
Apprenticeships
Where students are studying for a higher education qualification as part of an apprenticeship they will normally be dividing their time between work and study. Therefore, we would expect years of engagement for these students to be parttime. For apprenticeships, only activity that directly relates to their higher education qualification should be counted when determining mode. We do not expect this to include all the apprentice’s time in the workplace.
We recognise that the concept of a fulltime fee may not be meaningful for higher education undertaken as part of an apprenticeship. Where this is the case, the requirement for a fulltime fee to be chargeable (paragraph b of the fulltime definition above) can be disregarded for the purpose of determining whether a year of engagement should be classified as fulltime and only the expected attendance requirements apply (paragraph a of the fulltime definition above). Years of engagement for any higher education studied as part of an apprenticeship should not be categorised as fulltime unless, when compared with the equivalent fulltime course not taken as part of an
apprenticeship:
the duration of the course is the same
the number of credits studied per year is the same.
Where no such equivalent course exists, the duration and number of credits studied should be assessed against the typical length of a similar qualification.
Where a higher apprenticeship does not contain any formal qualifications an academic judgement about the amount of higher level study required to complete the apprenticeship should be made. This should be compared to the amount of study required for a fulltime qualification at the same level when determining FTE.
Learning in the workplace and work experience
For the purposes of meeting the attendance definition for a fulltime course, fulltime study can include learning in the workplace, where this is a course requirement. Such learning is frequently a feature of foundation degrees, learning aims within apprenticeships, the placements for courses leading to first registration in various healthcare professions and may also occur in other programmes. Learning in the workplace is a structured academic programme, controlled by the higher education provider and delivered in the workplace by the academic staff of the provider, staff of the employer, or both.
Unlike work experience, which is one element of a course such as a sandwich placement (whether for all or part of a year), learning in the workplace is at the heart of a student’s learning programme and must be subject to the same level of academic supervision and rigour as any other form of assessed learning. It includes:

the imparting of relevant knowledge and skills to students

opportunities for students to discuss knowledge and skills with their tutors

assessment of students’ acquisition of knowledge and skills by the provider’s academic staff, perhaps jointly with an employer.
Learning in the workplace should be substituting for learning that under other circumstances would normally take place within the provider. The inclusion of an element of learning in the workplace should not, therefore, extend the normal duration of a course.
Determining the mode of study when multiple aims are taken concurrently
Where a student is on two courses at the same time, aiming for two independent HE qualifications, the mode of each year of engagement is determined independently.
Where instead a student is aiming for two (or more) HE qualifications concurrently that are not independent of each other and are therefore part of the same engagement (e.g. as part of an Apprenticeship) care will need to be taken to ensure that there is no double counting of activity when determining the mode of each aim. Where learning counts towards more than one aim it should be wholly attributed to one of those aims, normally the one at the highest academic level.
Other notes on mode of study
In some cases a student’s mode of study changes between years. For example, the mode of a student on a fulltime 18month course would be fulltime in year one and parttime in year two, if the second year does not have 24 weeks of study.
In general, where a student plans to study at a fulltime rate for a portion of the year – for example only for the first semester – they will be recorded as parttime, even though they are ‘fulltime’ for that period of study. The mode of attendance must be established with reference to the intended activity for the whole year of engagement.
Mode of study should not be adjusted when fulltime students withdraw part way through the year of engagement. The mode of attendance should still be returned with reference to the intended activity for the whole year of engagement.
Where fulltime students change mode within a year of engagement to become parttime, the year of engagement should be recorded as parttime only. This applies only when the student continues to study actively on their year of engagement, where there is a formal process for agreeing the change in mode, including confirmation by the student and a recalculation of their course fee to reflect their parttime status. It may also result in the student losing entitlement to fulltime student support. Their fulltime equivalence should be calculated in the usual way, by comparison with the equivalent fulltime course.
For full guidance about this field, please refer to Annex H of the latest HESES guidance: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/dataandanalysis/datacollection/heses/ .
Student Engagement FTE
Student engagement FTE represents the institution's best academic judgement of the fulltime equivalence of the learner (for this record) during the reporting year 01 August to 31 July.
Calculating FTE
Fulltime, full year students would normally be returned as 100 and parttime students returned as a proportion of an equivalent fulltime course. Comparisons and weightings of different fulltime, full year courses are not expected. The proportion of parttime study can be estimated on either a 'time' or a 'credit' basis. The FTE should not be weighted to take account of any resourcing implications of different courses.
All activity required to be undertaken should be accounted for when determining the STULOAD for a student. This includes learning in the workplace, such as professional placements, and compulsory modules that do not attract credits. These activities should be considered part of the activity for the course and for fulltime students STULOAD should remain based on a comparison between the planned duration of the course compared to the standard duration for courses of the student’s mode and level at the provider.
All students following a course with the same planned pattern of study would initially be assumed to have the same FTE. An adjustment should be made at individual student level if a student did not actually follow the whole course academic year, e.g. because they left half way through. We would typically expect that this adjustment reflects the number of weeks of activity undertaken in comparison to the number expected for the reporting year. A more precise calculation is not required. For example, a fulltime student who withdraws having studied for 15 weeks when 30 weeks of activity were planned should be returned with a STULOAD of 50% (050.0).
The calculation of FTE therefore becomes a function of proportion (that the course represents of a fulltime benchmark course) x time (amount of the course that the student followed in the reporting year 01 August to 31 July). For example, students on a degree programme which is studied over four years rather than the usual three would normally be expected to have a STULOAD of 75% (075.0).
A foundation degree bridging course should be returned with a STULOAD of 030.0, except where one of the following occurs:

The course spans two academic years, when the load should be proportionally split between them.

Where an Apprenticeship component aim is required to be recorded in academic years following the end date of the component, STULOAD must be set as 0
Examples
1. A student commences a one year long HNC in September 2022, studying it fulltime (MODESTUD = 1) and ending in July 2023. The STULOAD returned in 202223 would be 100% (100.0).
2. A student commences a two year long HND in January 2023, studying it fulltime (MODESTUD = 1) and ending in December 2024. Assuming two terms are studied in 202223 and one term is studied in 202425, STULOAD would be returned as follows:
a. 202223: 67% (067.0)
b. 202324: 100% (100.0)
c. 202425: 33% (033.0)
3. A student commences a two year long Foundation Degree in September 2022, studying it fulltime (MODESTUD = 1) with a planned end date of July 2024. However, they withdraw half way through the second year. STULOAD would be returned as follows:
a. 202223: 100% (100.0)
b. 202324: 50% (050.0)
Determining FTE when multiple aims are taken concurrently
Where a student is on two courses at the same time, aiming for two independent HE qualifications, the FTE of each year of engagement must be determined independently.
Where instead a student is aiming for two (or more) HE qualifications concurrently that are not independent of each other and are therefore part of the same engagement (e.g. as part of an Apprenticeship) care must be taken to ensure that there is no double counting of activity when determining the FTE of each aim. Where activity counts towards more than one aim it should be wholly attributed to one of those aims, normally the one at the highest academic level. Where one aim is fulltime all learning that could be associated with that aim must be associated with that aim and FTE only associated with other aims where it reflects additional learning and study effort. When determining FTE for parttime study the comparison must be a normal fulltime course and should not be the minimum level of activity considered fulltime.
A total FTE greater than 100 across all HE aims that are part of the same engagement is not generally expected unless the student is studying at an accelerated rate (for example studying a full honours degree over less than 3 years).
Calculation of Checksum for Student Support Number
The algorithm for calculating the checksum is as follows:
For positions 1 to 4 of the SSN:

Convert each character to a number using the following values: A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3, E=4, F=5, G=6, H=7, J=8, K=9, L=10, M=11, N=12, P=13, R=14, S=15, T=16, U=17, V=18, W=19, X=20, Y=21

Multiply each number by the weighting factor, which is 14 minus the position (i.e. 13 for position 1, 12 for position 2 etc)
For positions 5 to 12 of the SSN:

Multiply each value for positions 5 to 12 by the weighting factor, which is 14 minus the position (i.e. 9 for position 5, 8 for position 6 etc)
Calculate the check character:

Divide the sum of the calculated values for positions 1 to 12 by 23 to get a remainder (i.e. if summed value was 475 then the remainder would be 15)

Subtract this remainder from 23 and convert this value to a character using the following values: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D, 5=E, 6=F, 7=G, 8=H, 9=J, 10=K, 11=L, 12=M, 13=N, 14=P, 15=R, 16=S, 17=T, 18=U, 19=V, 20=W, 21=X, 22=Y, 23=Z

This is the check character, so if validating a captured SSN this should match position 13 of the SSN.
Characters I, O, Q are not valid characters in the SSN. Z is only valid in position 13.
Worked example
When the Student Support Number = WADM46891352A

Convert the characters to numbers using the values, so W=19, A=0, D=3, M=11.

Multiply each number by the weighting factor.
Positions: 1 2 3 4
Weighting factor: 13 12 11 10
(W=19*13=247), (A=0*12=0), (D=3*11=33), (M=11*10=110)

For positions 5 to 12 (46891352) multiply the number by the weighting factor.
Positions: 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Weighting factor: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
(4*9=36), (6*8=48), (8*7=56), (9*6=54), (1*5=5), (3*4=12), (5*3=15), (2*2=4)

Sum the calculated values for positions 1 to 12.
(247+0+33+110+36+48+56+54+5+12+15+4=620)

Divide this number by 23 to get a remainder.
(620/23=26 with a remainder of 22)

Subtract the remainder from 23 and convert this value to a character.
(2322=1=A)

This is the check character and this matches position 13 of the SSN.