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Reporting with HEPCAT - webinar questions

Q: Does HEIMS Data Collection team provide confirmation of receipt of data submitted? If so, what is the expected time to receive confirmation? And who receives that confirmation?

A: Once you have submitted your data to HEIMS the person who reported the submission will receive an automated email directly from HEIMS advising them of the status of the submission. This will explain that the submission has been accepted if there are no fatal errors in the data or rejected if errors have occurred. The reporting officer will be directed to review the details of the errors using the Opens in a new window: HEIMS Online Submission Reports.


Q: Is there a limit on the number of staff granted access to HEIMS systems?

A: No. It is a matter for each organisation to determine the number of staff who require access to the HEIMS systems. Each staff member will need to complete the Access to HEIMS applications form for their own logon credentials to be issued.


Q: I've forgotten my HEPCAT logon details and password.

A: You will need to contact the HEIMS Client Support team on (02) 6240 7487 or email HEIMS.datacollections [at] education.gov.au to request your credentials and to reset your password.


Q: Why does my HEIMS password expires every 30 days?

A: This is a security provision to ensure that only authorised users access the HEIMS systems. This is a condition of being granted access to the HEIMS environments.


Q: Do I need to install the latest version of HEPCAT before I can report my submissions?

A: Yes. HEPCAT is updated from time to time when new functionality or reporting requirements are released. Whilst you can prepare your data using an earlier version of HEPCAT, you will always need to install the latest version to be able to report your data.


Q: What if HEPCAT crashes on my computer can I retrieve my submissions and install on another computer?

A: We urge providers to regularly back up their HEPCAT database to protect against loss of data in case of a system failure. This backup can then simply be restored on another computer. Detailed instructions on backing up and restoring are provided in Part 3 of the HEPCAT User Guide.


Q: How are data files created for importing into HEPCAT?

A: Data files for importing into HEPCAT are usually created from your student management system, which can output your data in the required format for HEPCAT. These specifications are detailed in the data elements and the file structure guides. Your data files must meet these specifications to be successfully imported into HEPCAT.

If you need assistance to create your data files please contact us at HEIMS.datacollections [at] education.gov.au.


Q: How do we get data into HEPCAT if our student management system does not extract data and create the files for importing into HEPCAT?

A: If your student management system does not have the capability to output your data into flat files for reporting you will need to consider other methods to enter your data into HEPCAT. One option is to manually enter your data into HEPCAT. This generally works best when you only have a small number of students to report.

If you are unsure how to create the data files in your circumstances please contact our client support team at HEIMS.datacollections [at] education.gov.au or 02 6240 7487 to discuss your options.


Q: Why does HEPCAT not allow more than one data cell to be copied and pasted when manually creating or editing data?

A: One of the main functions of HEPCAT is to give providers the ability to import data files into their submissions, limiting the need for manual entry. While you can manually enter your data into HEPCAT it is limited to single cell data entry.


Q: How can I identify in HEPCAT which records that have caused a validation error?

A: HEPCAT provides detailed error reports to help identify which records have caused a validation error. There is also a function within HEPCAT that will enable you to filter your data on a particular error. More information on how to use these can be found Part 2 in the HEPCAT User Guide and also in the Validating your data toolkit.

Our webinar Validating your data also explains how the validation process works in HEPCAT and HEIMS and provides you with simple strategies to resolve errors more easily.


Q: Can our organisation have more than one instance of HEPCAT installed and can this application be networked?

A: HEPCAT can be installed on the local C drive on multiple computers at your organisation, however for security reasons it cannot be networked. We recommend that your data is submitted from the same computer each time and that you have a process in place to regularly backup and restore the HEPCAT database to ensure that all computers are working with your latest database.


Q: Why are our previous submissions no longer appearing in HEPCAT after installing the latest version?

A: If a back-up was undertaken before updating HEPCAT then you simply restore the back-up of your latest version of HEPCAT by following the steps as outlined in Part 3 of the HEPCAT User Guide. However if no back-up was taken then unfortunately your reporting history has been removed and cannot be retrieved. If this has happened to you please contact us to discuss how you can manage your future submissions.


Q: If our organisation has no data to report for a submission deadline who should we notify?

A: You will need to send an email to HEIMS.datacollections [at] education.gov.au advising that you will not be reporting as your organisation has no students enrolled for the deadline.


Q: Does our organisation need to wait until the census date has passed to report students?

A: Yes. Your data can be reported as soon as the census date for your units of study has passed. Reporting your data earlier that the due dates ensures you have plenty of time to resolve any errors in your submissions well before the deadline.


Q: Is a VET Course of Study submission required to be reported once a year, or required for every student submission?

A: You are required to report one Course of Study submission each year prior to reporting any students against the courses. For higher education providers your Course of Study submission is due by 1 August for the coming year.

Any additional or newly approved VET or higher education courses can be reported in another Course of Study submission at any time during the year.


Q: How many submissions can our organisation report for a period?

A: There are no limitations on the number of submissions you can report for a reporting period. You can report as often as you require, once the census date for your units has passed.


Q: What happens if we don't have the students TFN?

A: As an approved provider you are required to collect information from your students at the time of enrolment. This includes TFNs. Students who have deferred their tuition fees through a HELP loan must before the census date provide you with their tax file number or proof that they have applied for one. If the student has not provided their TFN then they are not entitled to access a HELP loan. You will not be able to report these students in your submission if you have not collected their TFN. More detailed information on tax file number requirements is provided in section 8 of the VET Administrative Information for Providers.


Q: Where do I find information about HEIMS validation errors?

A: Descriptions of HEIMS validation rules are available on the HEIMSHELP website from the Validating your data toolkit. When you are submitting your data you can review your Submission Reports in Opens in a new window: HEIMS Online to see details of the errors specific to the submission.

The webinar Validating your data also explains how validations work and whey errors may be occurring.


Q: When preparing the Course of Study submission the reporting period cannot be selected.

A: A reporting period does not apply to the Course of Study submission as this submission relates to the entire reporting year. HEPCAT therefore automatically defaults the reporting period to 1.


Q: Do the validations in HEPCAT and HEIMS work differently for full and half year periods?

A: The validations that check your data within HEPCAT and on submission to HEIMS are consistent across reporting periods. They are not specific to a reporting period. The validations will however check for consistency with previously reported data.


Q: Can I see what submissions have been reported successfully and which ones are incorrect or missing for the deadline from the one location?

A: The HEPCAT submission status menu will indicate the stages of your submissions. The statuses are:

  • In Progress – you have created your submission and have started preparing your data.
  • Validated – you have successfully validated the submission. It has no fatal errors and is ready to report.
  • Submitted – you have submitted your submission to HEIMS where it is undergoing some additional validation checks in HEIMS.
  • Rejected –a fatal error has occurred on submission to HEIMS. You will need to correct these errors and resubmit your data.
  • Accepted – your submission has been accepted by HEIMS.

Once your data has been accepted by HEIMS it is important to check your submission report in Opens in a new window: HEIMS Online for any warning messages that may require correction.

More information on these statuses is provided in the Part 2 of the HEPCAT User Guide.


Q: Can I restore my reported data files from HEIMS Online?

A: No. HEPCAT submission files cannot be restored from Opens in a new window: HEIMS Online. HEIMS Online is an application that provides you with a consolidated view of all the data you have reported to HEIMS. The data is displayed using a range of summary and detailed reports.

It is important that you have a robust data administration process in place to back-up your HEPCAT database after each submission or computer upgrade to ensure that you can always access your submission files.


Q: As our organisation has a student management system do we need to back-up HEPCAT?

A: Yes. Backing up your HEPCAT database is an essential step in managing your data. You need to do this regularly regardless of whether or not you have a student management system. This will ensure that your reporting history is maintained in HEPCAT.


Q: For the submission due on 31 March 2015 can we include students with a census date of 1 April 2015 and onwards?

A: No. All submissions can only include student records for which the census date has passed. HEIMS will reject any student records with a future census date.


Q: My Student submission has generated an error indicating that duplicate records have been reported. How do I resolve this?

A: This error means that you have already reported these students with the same key information. You will need to check if you have included these students more than once in your submissions for the same course, unit of study and census date. If so, you can remove the duplicate records from your submission.


Q: Are there guidelines explaining the requirements for securing a student's tax file number?

A: Providers are required to comply with the rules for the handling and disposing of students tax file numbers as set out in Opens in a new window: Tax File Number Guidelines.


Q: What is a CHESSN and TFN and the purpose they serve in the collection of student data?

A: The Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) is a unique number used by the department to identify a student who has accessed a HELP loan. The CHESSN is then used by the student, the government and providers to monitor the student’s HELP entitlements to ensure they only access the amount of Commonwealth assistance (HELP loans) to which they are entitled.

A tax file number (TFN) is a unique nine-digit number issued to individuals by the ATO to help administer tax and other Australian Government systems. Only one TFN is issued to an individual during a lifetime.

Eligible students can access a HELP loan to pay for their tuition fees and as such are required to provide their tax file number to the provider. The student's TFN and CHESSN are reported to the department as part of your student data submissions and this information is then included in the transfer of student HELP debts to the ATO.


Q: When allocating a CHESSN I received notification of matching details for a student. Do I use the CHESSN returned by the system or allocate a new CHESSN?

A: When you are allocating a CHESSN to a student the system will return an existing CHESSN for the student if a match is found on the student’s key details. In the circumstances you use the CHESSN provided by the system. This process minimises the risk of multiple CHESSNs being issued for the same student.

If the details returned or are not the same student then a new CHESSN would need to be allocated.


Q: How do I cancel a CHESSN allocated in error?

A: Once a CHESSN has been allocated to a student it cannot be cancelled or deleted. Where students have been accidentally issued with an additional CHESSN a process is provided to enable you to link the duplicate CHESSNs together. You can access information on this process from the CHESSN toolkit.

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