36. Reporting requirements

36.1 - The Tertiary Collection of Student Information (TCSI)

A provider must report accurate and timely student information to the department. Delays to the reporting of accurate data can have consequences for students and providers and can affect the calculation of loan entitlements, student income support entitlements and the processing of loans. Providers are required to report, and where relevant, revise data within the timeframes that have been determined under s19-70 of HESA. Full details on reporting requirements, including what, when and how to report are available on the TCSI website.

TCSI is used to:

  • obtain data on HELP debts, statistical data, and data required for program management
  • supply data to the myHELPbalance website to provide students with timely, accessible and accurate information about their study; and
  • support the management of Commonwealth student loans and higher education eligibility, including scholarships.

36.2 - Managing HELP limits

TCSI provides a mechanism through which providers can report and update data in real-time and receive near real-time information on the extent to which students have accessed OS-HELP loans and consumed their HELP balance. The accuracy of the information available depends on all providers reporting accurate loan data as soon as possible. In particular, TCSI will be able to return information on:

  • what OS-HELP loans the student has accessed at all providers
  • the student’s ‘available HELP balance’, which takes account of loans that have already consumed the student’s HELP balance and any loan repayments that have been applied to the student’s HELP balance
  • the student’s ‘pending  HELP balance’, which takes account of loans that have or will consume the student’s HELP balance and any loan repayments that have been applied to the student’s HELP balance; and
  • the status of all loans that a provider has reported, including whether the loan has or will be covered by the student’s entitlements.

Providers will also be able to access reports using ‘TCSI Analytics’ to determine how many and which of their students may be close to exhausting their HELP balance.

This information can be used by providers to help determine whether student contributions or tuition fees can be covered by a student’s HELP balance or whether these amounts will need to be recovered directly from the student.

The Commonwealth can only make payments to providers in respect of Commonwealth assisted students if those students are eligible for that assistance. Payments cannot be made on behalf of students who have exhausted their entitlements. Providers are encouraged to use the tools available in TCSI to help manage student entitlements in conjunction with their own processes to ensure that students have sufficient entitlements to enable access to HELP for their units.

36.3 - Management of CHESSNs

Allocation of CHESSNs

The CHESSN is a unique identifier that is used to manage a student’s access to HELP entitlements and is the identifier that a provider must use in communications with the Commonwealth concerning a person who:

  • is enrolled, or seeking to enrol, in a unit with the provider; and
  • has indicated they are seeking Commonwealth assistance under HESA for the unit, or is a Commonwealth supported student for the unit [HESA section 169-30].

TCSI will automatically allocate a CHESSN to a student once the provider has reported sufficient data for the system to identify the student. A CHESSN is required for all students who are:

  • Commonwealth supported (see part 21.3)
  • accessing HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, SA-HELP or OS-HELP
  • in receipt of a Commonwealth scholarship; and
  • a domestic research student in receipt of an RTP scholarship.

Notification of CHESSNs

Non-research students are notified of their CHESSN via the CAN (see part 11) [Administration Guidelines chapter 4]. Research students must also be notified if they are allocated a CHESSN. A provider has discretion in how it advises a research student of their CHESSN.

Students who have been allocated a CHESSN will be able to access information on their use of Commonwealth assistance through myHELPbalance.

Managing multiple CHESSNs

Students must only have one CHESSN. While the CHESSN allocation process in TCSI reduces the number of multiple CHESSNs, it cannot eliminate them entirely. To reduce the possibility of a student being issued multiple CHESSNs, it is important that providers report as much identifying data as possible for their students as early as possible. The more data that is reported, the more robust the search will be, and this will reduce the possibility of creating multiple CHESSNs for a student.

If a student has been incorrectly allocated more than one CHESSN, they risk exceeding their individual lifetime HELP limit. If a student has been advanced HELP loans in excess of their HELP limit, the department will identify which unit(s) of study were not covered by the student’s HELP limit and may recover the excess loan amounts from the provider(s) that delivered the unit(s).

The department cannot make payments to providers for students who have exceeded the limit. It is the student’s responsibility to know their HELP balance before seeking Commonwealth loan support.

Where the TCSI system identifies that a student has more than one CHESSN, it will combine the student’s debt records against one CHESSN and remove the duplicate. Providers will receive a notification from TCSI if a previously allocated CHESSN has been changed and providers will be able to retrieve the correct CHESSN from TCSI. Where a provider has reason to believe that a student has multiple CHESSNs that the system has not identified, it should notify the department as soon as possible through the contact information on the TCSI website.