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Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) scope

Version Details

Version: 5.1
First Year: 2017
Last Year:


The Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) is a number that uniquely identifies a Commonwealth assisted student.

Providers must allocate a CHESSN to all domestic students supported by the Commonwealth through:

  • the HELP program;
  • the Commonwealth Scholarship program; and
  • the Research Training Program.

The government uses the CHESSN to manage the entitlements of a Commonwealth assisted student. Once a student is allocated a CHESSN it will remain linked to the student for the remainder of their academic life.

Students may use their CHESSN to access information on their use of Commonwealth assistance through myUniAssist on the Opens in a new window: Study Assist website.

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A student in receipt of Commonwealth assistance must be allocated a CHESSN before receiving any Commonwealth assistance.

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Allocation method

The data required for CHESSN allocation can be provided in two ways:

  • in XML format sent to the department via a Web Service Interface (for allocation of one or many students)
  • entered directly into the Opens in a new window: HEIMS Administration system (typically for allocation of a small number of CHESSNs).

The data sent via either of the above methods provides information about students to allow the allocation of a provisional CHESSN. The information provided will also be used to identify, with high probability, a unique individual so as to minimise allocating duplicate CHESSNs.

A CHESSN will only become active in HEIMS when a record for the student is received in the student submission. The provider will inform the student of their CHESSN through the Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN).

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The CHESSN structure guidelines contain details of the complete set of data elements that can be reported. The actual elements reported will depend on the characteristics of a student.

The XML file structures are flexible. Individual records may vary in size depending on the information required and submitted. The HEIMS Web Services CHESSN Technical Specification provides technical information required to develop a web services interface.

If a provider submits an XML file for the allocation of CHESSNs there must only be one record for a particular student.

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Records to be excluded

  • Domestic students not providing consent for their data to be sent to HEIMS
  • Overseas students (except those receiving Research Training Program support)

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More information

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

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