HESA student data checking tool

The data checking tool is a secure online tool to help HEIs to return accurate data. HEIs upload their HESA student data file to the tool, which produces outputs that allow potential errors in their data to be identified. These errors can then be corrected before the data is formally submitted to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Frequently asked questions

Accessing and using the data checking tool

1. How do I access the data checking tool?

The data checking tool is accessed from the Information Reporting Interface Service (IRIS) report which is available on HESA’s data collection site. HEIs will no longer be able to access the data checking tool via the Office for Students portal (former HEFCE extranet).

2. How long does it take to process the file(s)?

The system only allows one submission to be processed at a time; therefore if more than one institution submits data, the submissions will be placed in a queue. The total time taken to complete the funding summary output, including waiting time, will depend on the number of institutions in the queue.

3. What do I need to do if an error occurs while processing?

Ensure that the files you used are the correct ones, they have passed HESA validation and are also in the correct format. The correct format for the data checking tool is the extensible markup language (XML) file structure of the HESA Student Record. Due to file size restrictions, files must be zipped XML files that conform to the relevant XML Schema Definition (XSD) file found on the HESA web-site.  Ensure all data retains its leading zeros by opening the file in a text editor such as Notepad. If all the files are correct and you still have an error message, contact hesastudentdata@officeforstudents.org.uk

4. How do I view the output files?

HEIs can access the data checking tool outputs by 'committing' HESA data to HESA's Data Collection System. The outputs will then become available on the data collection system, once the HESA data has been processed, with the description 'Funding council outputs' and the report name including 'IRIS’.

5. How will the data I use to create the outputs be used by Research England?

The data checking tool is a tool for providers. Research England staff will access data submitted to, or derived by, the data checking tool in the following circumstances:

  • where an institution explicitly gives permission
  • to produce early modelling of funding allocations
  • to study general data quality and algorithmic issues as part of our data verification process.