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Preference Details (PD) scope

Version Details

Version: 5.1
First Year: 2014
Last Year: 2014


The Preference Details (PD) file comprises data records for all preferences listed on an application for current higher education undergraduate award courses submitted through a tertiary admission centre (TAC) or directly to a Table A or B higher education provider (provider).

The data reported in the PD file provides information on the applicant’s preferences (for example, field of education and preference order) as at the reference date.

If your institution only keeps records of offers, report the same values for offer details as for preference details (See the Offer Details (OD) file scope).

For each unique value for the Application identification code (element 700) there must be at least one current preference for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) in a higher education undergraduate award course (element 724 - Sector code, element 358 - Citizen/resident indicator and element 310 - Course of study type code).

Each unique value for Application identification code (element 700) may have multiple records for preference details, as each preference listed by an applicant is reported as a separate data record.

Who is required to report it?

All Table A or B providers who receive direct applications and all TACs.

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The reference and submission dates are advised by the Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres (ACTAC). The due dates for these submissions are usually released by ACTAC in the September prior to the reporting year and will be detailed in the reporting schedule when they become available.

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Submission method

Providers submit applications and offers data using the Higher Education Provider Client Assistance Tool (HEPCAT). More information about this process is in the HEPCAT User Guide Part 2.

The PD file is one of three files in the Application Details submission. The others files are the Applications Details (AD) and the Offer Details (OD). For more information about these files refer to their respective scope and structure guidelines.

TACs submit applications and offers data using HEIMS Web Services. For more information refer to the Data requirements - Tertiary Admissions Centres.

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Information about the structure and elements in the PD file is in the structure guidelines for the relevant reporting year.

Some fields are discretionary. Discretionary elements should be reported unless the provider does not collect data on them.

For mandatory elements, generic or ‘no information’ values should be submitted in exceptional cases only.

For providers, coding notes included on each data element guideline clarify if an element is mandatory or discretionary. For TACs this information is included in Appendix C of the Web Service Interface Technical Specifications.

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Matching records

Each record for the PD file must have an associated record on the AD file, identified by matched values for:

  • application identification code (element 700) and
  • your submitter or higher education provider code (element 306).

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Records to be included

One record per applicant must be included in the PD file for each preference listed on a valid application. This includes current preferences for courses cancelled by institutions and current preferences for courses for which the applicant is not eligible.

Valid applications are applications from domestic applicants (element 358 Citizen/resident indicator) with at least one current preference for a Commonwealth Supported Place in a higher education undergraduate award course (element 724 - Sector code and element 310 - Course of study type code).

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Special cases

Preferences for the following may also be reported for:

  • bridging, enabling or non-award courses on Course of study type code (element 310)
  • postgraduate courses on Course of study type code (element 310)
  • domestic fee‑paying undergraduate courses on Sector code (element 724)
  • vocational education and training courses on Sector code (element 724)
  • intakes after the intake for the commencing period nearest to the reference date on Intake date (element 709).

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Do not include data records in the PD file for applicants who have no matching record on the AD file.

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More information

For more information about terms used in these guidelines see the glossary.

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