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Reporting with HEPCAT toolkit


The Reporting with HEPCAT toolkit provides you with the information you need to report your data to the Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS).


HEPCAT is the acronym for the "Higher Education Provider Client Assistance Tool". It is an application provided by the department for approved higher education and VET providers to use in order to prepare, validate and submit data to HEIMS.

HEPCAT Release v27.0.0.004 was released on 12 December 2018. Release notes are available below. If you have already installed HEPCAT previously and just need to update the application please follow these instructions to install this application update.

Do not uninstall HEPCAT Prerequisites unless specifically advised by the department.

If you have not yet installed the HEPCAT prerequisites please follow these detailed installation instructions.



Getting started

To report data and use the HEIMS environments, you will need a Windows operating system and Windows Internet Explorer. You will also need a broadband internet connection with at least 512 KBps upload/download speed. For details about HEIMS applications and the specific system requirements please see Environment Requirements to Access HEIMS on the Systems and access page.

All users must have their own logon ID and password. You cannot use a colleague's logon ID and password to use HEPCAT. To request access you will need to complete and submit the Access to HEIMS applications form.

Installing HEPCAT

Administrator privileges are required to install HEPCAT. If you do not have this level of access to your computer, you will need to arrange installation of HEPCAT with your IT support team.

HEPCAT is installed onto the C drive of your computer.

There are two types of HEPCAT installation:

  • installing HEPCAT for the first time
  • updating to the latest version of HEPCAT

There are some differences between these two processes so it is important to follow the instructions for each type of installation.

Installing HEPCAT for the first time

To install HEPCAT to your computer for the first time you will need to first download and install the HEPCAT prerequisites. This is a package of software that enables your computer to run HEPCAT. It includes SQL Server 2012 Express and the Microsoft .NET Framework.

To perform your first installation of the HEPCAT Prerequisites and the HEPCAT application, follow the steps on Installing HEPCAT for the first time.

Updating to the latest version of HEPCAT

HEPCAT is updated from time to time, when new functionality or reporting requirements are released or a technical issue is corrected. This toolkit is kept up to date with the details of the latest releases. You will also be informed about any new releases via the HEIMS data collections eNews. When you log on to HEPCAT you will also receive an automated message if a later version of the application is available.

While you can prepare data using an earlier version of HEPCAT, you will always need to install the latest version to be able to submit your data to the department.

To update HEPCAT to a new version follow the steps on Updating to the latest version of HEPCAT.

There are four important tips to remember when you are updating to a new version of HEPCAT:

  • Back up your HEPCAT database before you install the new version of HEPCAT.
  • Remove the previous version of HEPCAT before upgrading to the new version
  • Do not remove your HEPCAT database and do not uninstall HEPCAT Prerequisites unless specifically advised by the department.
  • Once installed, the first time you open this new version of HEPCAT you must run it as administrator to allow the necessary database updates to be applied.
    • To launch HEPCAT as an administrator, locate HEIMS.Windows.HEPCAT.exe in C:\Program Files (x86)\HEPCAT v*\Application\, right click the .exe file and run as an administrator.

Full details of each HEPCAT release, including all changes, updates and any new or modified validations are available in the Release notes section.

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HEPCAT Resources

There are a range of resources to help you report your data using HEPCAT. This includes the HEPCAT User Guide, online resources and other support materials to simplify reporting.

HEPCAT User Guides

The HEPCAT User Guides provide you with step by step instructions on how to use HEPCAT. The guides are arranged in three parts and updated regularly to reflect any changes to current processes.

The following topics will help you locate the part of the guide you need.

Part 1 - installing HEPCAT

Part 1 of the HEPCAT user guide covers:

  • Overview
  • Installation
  • Set‑up
  • Starting HEPCAT

Part 2 - operating HEPCAT

Part 2 of HEPCAT the user guide covers:

  • Creating a submission
  • Importing data
  • Exporting data
  • Editing
  • Validating data
  • Reporting a submission
  • Retrieving a status update
  • Viewing approved VET courses

Part 3 - administrative functions

Part 3 of HEPCAT the user guide covers:

  • Managing logins and passwords
  • Changing a provider code
  • Database management
  • User settings

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Online Resources

HEPCAT Cheat sheet

The HEPCAT cheat sheet looks at each of the steps required to successfully report your data using the HEPCAT application.

HEPCAT Basics - online training videos

HEPCAT basics is a four part online training package that explains how to install HEPCAT, create files and submit data. Each part is under 10 minutes to view.


There are a range of webinars to view at any time that will walk you through each of the processes you need to know to report data. These include:

We also provide regular online webinars throughout the year. Our Training page provides you with a calendar of the dates for upcoming webinars.


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Order of reporting in HEPCAT - an easy way to save you time

To simplify the validation and submission of your files we recommend that you prepare and report your VET and higher education student data in the following order. This is because the data in your student submission is checked against information in your course or VET course submission and your HELP Due or VET HELP Due file. By reporting in this order, it will help to minimise your validation errors and reduce the time it takes to prepare and submit your data.


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How to create a HEPCAT data file from an Excel spreadsheet

To import data into HEPCAT your data must be in a flat (or text) file format. If your data is in an Excel spreadsheet this guide explains how to convert the data in the spreadsheet to a flat file format that can then be imported directly into HEPCAT.


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What's next?

Knowing how to use HEPCAT is an important part of being able to report successfully. But it is not all you need to know. Our toolkits, data requirement pages and other resources in HEIMSHELP will help you to report and verify your data on time.

In particular the Validating your data toolkit provides information about how to successfully validate your files in HEPCAT and HEIMS.

After you report your data successfully in HEPCAT we suggest that you check your data using the HEIMS Online reports. The Checking and verifying your data toolkit provides details about the HEIMS Online submission and Data View reports and how to use them.

VET providers must lodge a statutory declaration in the Opens in a new window: HELP IT system.
The statutory declaration must be signed by the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Finance Officer and uploaded into the HITS system under Ad‑Hoc documents, using the category Administration and the sub‑category Statutory Declarations.
The statutory declaration template is located on the Opens in a new window: department's website.

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Release Notes

When there is a HEPCAT release there is also a HEIMS system release, to ensure that changes to HEPCAT are reflected in HEIMS.

Release notes are published for both HEPCAT and HEIMS after each release. The notes include full details about any new functionality or modifications to existing functions that occurred in the release. This includes all validations which have been introduced or modified.

HEPCAT Release notes

The latest version of HEPCAT, Release HEPCAT v26.0.0.0005, was released on 12 December 2018.

Latest release notes

Previous Release notes:


HEIMS release notes

HEIMS latest upgrade, Release 48, was released on 12 December 2018.

Latest HEIMS Release notes

Previous Release notes:


Related Resources


Training is offered throughout the year and you may register on our Training page and via our eNews. Our training page also hosts training videos and recorded webinars on many key topics, which may be viewed at any time. We also offer webinar or face to face training tailored for your team or your organisation.

We recommend that you review our training page and mark the dates of webinars that are relevant to you on your planning calendar.

Contact us

If you need advice about getting started like planning your reporting calendar and training or any questions on reporting data or using HEPCAT, HEIMS Online or HEIMS Administration systems please contact us.