Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 16 Feb 2021

Courses Management Service user guide

This guide will help you to use the Courses Management Service (CMS), available through the HE Gateway. This page lists the chapters in each section of the guide. 


Getting started

This section will tell you what CMS is, how to access it and where to find support.

What is the Courses Management Service?

Our Courses Management Service (CMS) is a directory of:
  • higher education providers (HEPs) 
  • their full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses
It is a single, flexible, controlled service with strong security and anti-fraud measures.

The design principles of CMS ensure that:
  • there is a single point of entry for provider and course information
  • students can easily find their course when they apply
We will call for course collection ahead of every academic year. We will ask you to enter term dates and fee information for your existing courses. This includes both full-time and part-time courses on undergraduate as well as postgraduate level. We will also ask you to give any new course information as the academic year progresses.

The course information on CMS is used for many purposes, so it is critical that it is accurate. We use this data to assess student funding applications. It helps us to ensure that any payments we make are correct, on time and go to the right location. You can use CMS to maintain and manage a centralised log of your course and fee information.

You must ensure that your course details are correct and meet the relevant student support regulations. Towards the end of course collection, we will perform validation checks on the courses you have submitted. We will tell you about any courses that do not meet guidance and will expect you to amend these ahead of student application launch.

If you have any questions about using CMS that this guide does not answer, please contact our Partners Support Desk

Accessing the Courses Management Service

The Courses Management Service (CMS) is part of our HE Gateway services. You can find the link to the HE Gateway on the front page of this website and at the top of each page.

When you first sign into CMS, you will get an activation email with your username and initial password. Once you have entered these, the system will prompt you to create your own password. You must not give your username or password to anyone else. 

Once you have signed in, you will see a link to the Courses Management Service in the side menu bar of the HE Gateway homepage.

The HE Gateway lets you use a single username and password to sign into CMS, the Bursary Administration Service (BAS) and the Student Information Service (SIS), depending on what access you have and to what system.

This means that you do not need to enter your credentials for every system. You will be able to navigate to them from the HE Gateway or by using independent links.

Account security

You must not share user access. Each user must have a unique user account. 

We will monitor the system for any users signed into multiple sessions at the same time. If this happens, we will automatically limit usage. 

There is no limit on the number of CMS users your university or college can have. This is entirely at your discretion. 

It will be up to your Courses User Administrator to decide what system roles and access each staff member has. If you do not have access to CMS, your Courses User Administrator can create a user account for you.

Once you have signed into CMS, the screen will time out after an hour if there has been no activity (with an 8-hour maximum session). If the screen times out, you will need to reenter your username and password.

User access levels

CMS user access levels are:
  • Course Advisor – can view provider and course information
  • Course Administrator – can add locations and course information
  • Course User Administrator – can set up any number of other CMS users or expire their accounts
Users at new providers and alternative providers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will have read-only access to CMS for the first academic year and until they have completed mandatory training.

If your university or college has restricted access to CMS, you will always have a read-only view of the system. This does not depend on your individual user access level.

System availability

Occasionally, the HE Gateway may be unavailable due to planned maintenance or system upgrading. If this happens, we will give you such notice as is reasonably practicable.

For optimal performance, we recommend that you use CMS with the following browsers:
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 or above
  • Chrome 74
  • Firefox 59
Enabling JavaScript will further enhance system performance.

Provider information

Provider details

We’ve entered all your provider details for you. It is very important that this information is correct so you should check it when you first sign into the Courses Management Service (CMS).

You will not be able to amend this information yourself. If you notice that any of it is incorrect you should email us at hep_services@slc.co.uk.

Contact details

You can add an email address of someone at your organisation to CMS. This will be visible to students who cannot find their course when completing their application.

Students cannot proceed with their application unless it is linked to their course. Providing an email address will let them get in touch with you quickly if they need help. This will help to minimise delays and ensure that we can assess students for eligibility before the start of their course.

Higher education provider support

Partners Support Desk

Our Partners Support Desk is here to help you with any questions about the Courses Management Service (CMS).

If you experience any issues when using CMS, you should let the support desk know as soon as possible.

Interactive help tools

CMS also includes interactive on-screen help tools that you can use within the system.

HEP account managers

Each higher education provider in the UK and the Republic of Ireland has an assigned HEP account manager. You can contact your account manager with any:

  • training requests
  • suggestions for enhancements
  • requests for general guidance

Service agreement and standards

This section outlines our and your responsibilities around CMS.

Our responsibilities

The minimum availability of the Courses Management Service (CMS) is 95% of the supported window. This excludes any periods of scheduled maintenance.

The supported window runs from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 5pm on Fridays (excluding Scottish public holidays).

You can use the system outside these business hours, but no support will be available.

We intend that the average response time for retrieving data from the system will be 5 seconds.

We will notify all named contacts by email when CMS is temporarily unavailable. We will also confirm when the system is fully available again.

We will give you up to date support and guidance as needed and will ensure our staff are fully trained to deliver this.

We will add higher education provider regulatory fee caps to CMS each year.

We will review all this annually.

Your responsibilities

You must ensure that your courses meet the relevant student support regulations. You must also make sure that the details we hold for all your courses are correct before student finance applications launch. This will let us assess students against the correct course details and make accurate and timely fee payments to you.

You must submit all your course information by the date we have determined for the academic year. We will tell you this date before we make the Courses Management Service (CMS) available for the new academic year so that you can be ready.

If you experience any issues when using the system, you should contact our Partners Support Desk.

You must ensure you have enough staff members fully trained on CMS and they are available if we need to contact you.

You must also have an IT contact (either internal or external) available if needed.

You must review your contact details regularly and tell us if the details of your primary CMS contact change.

Provider attributes

This section covers attributes such as designation, provider category, locations and fee caps.

Designation

This chapter shows the domiciles that your courses can be designated for. You can only add courses for the domiciles shown on your provider page.

For English providers only, your provider type or category of Office for Students (OfS) registration affects the domiciles you are designated for.

You must only add designated courses to the Courses Management Service (CMS).

English Providers

From AY 2019/20 English providers intending to access student finance must be registered with the Office for Students (OfS).

Once you are registered with OfS, all eligible courses are automatically designated for English students.

You will only be able to add your courses to CMS if you are registered with OfS.

There are 2 categories of registration:

  • Approved (fee cap) with or without an Access and Participation Plan (APP)
  • Approved

If you were designated in AY 2018/19 but did not register with OfS for any reason, you must seek ‘teach out’ at course level from OfS. This will give your returning students access to the student finance system.

Franchise and validation arrangements

English providers that are registered with the Office for Students (OfS) can enter into validation and franchise agreements with:

  • providers that are registered with OfS
  • providers that are not registered with OfS

They can do this without seeking specific designation. All eligible courses run through validation or franchise arrangements are automatically designated. Eligible students will be able to access the student finance system.

If you are a higher education provider that is not registered with OfS, courses delivered via validation and franchise agreements by an OfS-registered provider are not eligible for student finance funding.


Validation arrangements

Validation arrangements are needed when a provider (Provider A) does not have the level of degree-awarding powers (DAPs) needed to run a course leading to a designated qualification. Such a provider can enter into a validation arrangement with another provider (Provider B) that has the DAPs needed.

Example

Provider B approves a programme of study offered by Provider A that contributes to the qualification awarded from Provider B. In validation arrangements, the degree-awarding body (Provider B) is ultimately responsible for the academic standards of any awards granted in its name and for the quality of the learning programme.


Franchise arrangements

Franchise arrangements are used when a lead provider (the franchisor) enters into an agreement with another provider (the franchisee).

Under this agreement, the franchisee will deliver a course on behalf of the lead provider. The franchisee may deliver all or part of a programme that the franchisor (the lead provider) approves and owns.

The lead provider keeps overall control of the programme's content, delivery, assessment and quality assurance. The lead provider must add the course on CMS. Students will apply for funding at the lead provider and all tuition fee loan payments will be made to the lead provider.

Example

Provider C (franchisor) has entered into a franchise agreement with Provider D (franchisee). Provider D is delivering the course at its campus on behalf of Provider C. The lead provider, Provider C, must upload the course details to CMS under its provider details. The location of the course should be shown as Provider D.


Offering courses to students domiciled in the rest of the UK

If an English provider offers its own courses to students domiciled in the rest of the UK, the following designation rules apply.

Own courses are those wholly provided by this higher education provider.

 

Wales

NI

An English provider that is:

designation

designation

Approved (fee cap) with APP

Automatic

Automatic

Approved (fee cap) without APP

Automatic

Automatic

Approved

Specific (course-level) designation by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)

Specific (provider-level) designation by the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfENI)

English providers offering their courses to Scottish students need specific designation at course level if their organisation:

  • was an Alternative provider in AY 2018/19
  • was a publicly funded provider that registers as an Approved provider with the Office for Students (OfS)
  • is a new provider in AY 2020/21

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) will only designate full-time courses that are not available at a provider located in Scotland.

If your organisation was publicly funded in AY 2018/19 and registers as an Approved (fee cap) provider with OfS, you have automatic designation for Scottish students for full-time courses only. Again, this only applies where the course is not available at a provider located in Scotland. This includes courses run through validation or franchise arrangements.

There are separate course designation rules for students domiciled in the rest of the UK for validation and franchise arrangements.

If you need specific designation at course or provider level, you must request this from the relevant designating authority (DA). We can request this on your behalf for Northern Irish and Scottish students. However, you should contact HEFCW directly to seek designation for Welsh students.


Validation arrangements – Welsh students

There are course-specific rules for Welsh domiciled students attending a higher education provider in England.

From AY 2019/20, providers registered in the Approved (fee cap) category can automatically enter into validation arrangements with other registered providers. Approved providers, and those not registered with OfS, must seek specific course-level designation from HEFCW.

Before AY 2019/20, all publicly funded providers could enter into validation arrangements without seeking specific designation. From AY 2019/20, a provider that was publicly funded in AY 2018/19 and registers in any other category other than Approved (fee cap) must have all courses that are run through a franchise arrangement for new students specifically designated by HEFCW.

You should not add courses to the Courses Management Service (CMS) before HEFCW has granted designation.


Validated provision – Welsh students

The designation for full-time and part-time undergraduate courses depends on the provider's registration status with OfS:

  • Approved (fee cap) with plan – automatic designation
  • Approved (fee cap) with statement – automatic designation
  • Approved – specifically designated by HEFCW
  • not on register – specifically designated by HEFCW

Franchise arrangements – Welsh students

Only providers registered as Approved (fee cap) with an Access and Participation Plan (APP) are automatically designated to run franchised courses. All other providers must have these courses specifically designated by HEFCW.

Before AY 2019/20, all publicly funded providers could enter into franchise arrangements without seeking specific designation. From AY 2019/20, a publicly funded provider in AY 2018/19 that registers in any category other than Approved (fee cap) with an APP must have all courses that are run through a franchise arrangement for new students specifically designated by HEFCW.

You should not add courses to CMS before HEFCW has granted designation.


Franchised provision – Welsh students

The designation for full-time and part-time undergraduate courses depends on the registration status of both providers. 

If the franchisee (deliverer) is registered with OfS and the franchisor (lead provider) is: 

  • Approved (fee cap) with an Access and Participation Plan (APP) – automatic designation
  • Approved (fee cap) without (APP) – specific designation by HEFCW
  • Approved – specific designation by HEFCW

If the franchisee (deliverer) is not registered with OfS, the courses will need specific designation.

 

Example 1

Provider C is registered with OfS as Approved (fee cap) with an Access and Participation Plan. Provider C has a genetics course, but would like to run it at another location (Provider D) to use Provider D’s specialist laboratory.

Provider C is the lead provider. As it is an Approved (fee cap) provider with an Access and Participation Plan, the genetics course is automatically designated for funding. Provider C can add the course to CMS and set the location to Provider D.

 

Example 2

Provider E is registered with OfS as an Approved (fee cap) provider and does not have an Access and Participation plan. Provider E also has a genetics course and wants to enter into a franchise arrangement with Provider D to use their specialist laboratory.

Provider E must apply to HEFCW to have the course specifically designated for support. They should not add the course to CMS until HEFCW has given it specific designation.


Northern Irish and Scottish providers

The designation rules are different for authority funded and non-authority funded providers.

Authority funded (public) providers are maintained or assisted by recurrent grants out of public funds. These providers are automatically designated for all domiciles.

Alternative providers are any providers of higher education courses that:

  • are not maintained or assisted by recurrent grants out of public funds
  • do not receive any other form of direct annual public funding (for example, from a local authority or the Secretary of State for Education)
  • are not further education colleges

According to the regulations, courses run wholly or in part by alternative providers are not automatically designated. They will need to be specifically designated so that students may access student support.

Scottish alternative providers must have specific designation from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

Northern Irish alternative providers must have specific designation from the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfENI).

If you are an alternative provider and want to offer courses to students under other designating authorities, you must seek specific course-level designation from the relevant authority. We can request this on your behalf for Northern Irish and Scottish students. If you wish to seek designation for Welsh students, you must contact the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) directly.

English students will be automatically designated for Welsh and Northern Irish alternative providers if the home designating authority has designated the provider. Scottish alternative providers will need to be designated for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

We will administer course details on the Courses Management Service (CMS) on behalf of alternative providers. Only the domiciles for which they have specific designation will be available.

Non-authority funded providers

Authority funded providers can enter into validation and franchise agreements with providers that are not authority funded.

In these arrangements, students who are studying at the franchise location may be entitled to student finance.

Welsh providers

From 1 August 2017, the automatic designation of full-time higher education courses applies only to courses provided by 'recognised educational institutions'.

A 'recognised educational institution' is currently defined as either:

  • a Welsh-regulated institution, meaning an institution which has a fee and access plan approved by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) under Section 7 of the Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 while that plan remains in force
  • a provider operated by a charity within the meaning in section 1 of the Charities Act 2011 on behalf of a Welsh-regulated institution

If a higher education course is not automatically designated, HEFCW will need to specifically designate it. Only then can students apply for financial support from the Welsh Government. The Welsh Ministers might designate these courses on a course-by-course basis.

If you are a Welsh provider that is not a 'recognised educational institution' and want to offer your courses to students under other designating authorities, you must request specific course level designation from the relevant authority.

We can request this on your behalf for Northern Irish and Scottish students. English students will be automatically designated for Welsh alternative providers if Wales has designated the provider.


Category

If you are an English provider, this indicates your category of registration with the Office for Students (OfS):

  • Approved (fee cap) with an Access and Participation Plan
  • Approved (fee cap) without an Access and Participation Plan
  • Approved

If you are a provider in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, the category indicates your funding status:

  • authority funded
  • other publicly funded
  • private

Fee caps

We will add your provider fee cap to the Courses Management Service (CMS). The fee cap depends on your domicile and will be the maximum amount stated by:

  • the Office for Students (OfS)
  • the Higher Education Council for Wales (HEFCW)
  • the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland (DfENI)
  • the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)

This cap is set for both full-time and part-time courses.

When you enter fee information at course level, you will not be able to enter a fee rate higher than your fee cap.

Locations

You can assign courses to any location that you have created for your organisation on the Locations tab of the Courses Management Service (CMS).

If you are offering a course at 2 or more locations this can be reflected under one course entry on CMS.

There are 3 location types on CMS: Campus, Franchise and Teacher Training School.

Campus

A campus is a location that students attend.

We would expect your first location to be your main site (or lead school if you are a School Direct Initial Teacher Training provider).

All you need to enter for each campus is its name and postcode. The postcode determines the funding that the student receives (inside or outside London).

Teacher Training School

A Teacher Training School is a location used to deliver school-centred teacher training courses.

There are 2 main types of initial teacher training (ITT) courses that can be designated:

  • schools ITT courses
  • ITT courses for those who want to teach in the further education (FE) sector

These courses can be delivered under a range of different models. The designation and approval arrangements vary.

Schools ITT courses can be delivered by authority funded providers, private providers or by School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) providers. Some may be delivered under the School Direct programme.

ITT courses for the further education sector are delivered mainly by authority funded providers and in some cases by private providers.

Eligibility

This section covers some general principles of course eligibility. There is more specific information on eligibility for each course type in the Creating courses section.

Qualifications

The current qualification options for undergraduate courses are:

  • advanced certificate
  • bachelor’s degree
  • bachelor’s degree with honours
  • bachelor’s degree with honours with QTS
  • bachelor’s degree with QTS
  • Certificate in Education
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Diploma in Education and Training (DET)
  • foundation degree
  • graduate certificate
  • graduate diploma
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • integrated master’s degree
  • Master of Architecture
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate ITT with QTS
  • Scottish master’s
  • postgraduate healthcare

The current qualification options for postgraduate master’s courses are:

  • research master’s (for students domiciled in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
  • taught master’s (for students domiciled in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
  • postgraduate certificate (for students domiciled in Northern Ireland)
  • postgraduate diploma (for students domiciled in Scotland or Northern Ireland)

The current qualification option for postgraduate doctoral courses is postgraduate doctorate.

Mapping undergraduate qualifications

The table here will help you map your undergraduate qualifications to the qualification listing on the Courses Management Service (CMS).

Provider qualification

Description

CMS qualification

BA

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor’s degree

BA (H)

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BA (QTS)

BA Honours (with Qualified Teacher Status)

Bachelor’s degree with honours with QTS

BA/BSc

Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science

Bachelor’s degree

BAcc

Bachelor of Accounting

Bachelor’s degree

BAcc (H)

Bachelor of Accounting (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BArch

Bachelor of Architecture

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BBA

Bachelor of Business Administration

Bachelor’s degree

BBA(H)

Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BClinSci

Bachelor of Clinical Science

Bachelor’s degree

BComm

Bachelor of Commerce

Bachelor’s degree

BD

Bachelor of Divinity

Bachelor’s degree

BDes

Bachelor of Design

Bachelor’s degree

BDS/BChD

Bachelor of Dental Surgery

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BEcon

Bachelor of Economics

Bachelor’s degree

BEd

Bachelor of Education

Bachelor’s degree with QTS

BEd (H)

Bachelor of Education (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours with QTS

BEd/BA

Bachelor of Education / Bachelor of Arts (dual degree)

Bachelor’s degree with QTS

BEd/BSc

Bachelor of Education / Bachelor of Science (dual degree)

Bachelor’s degree with QTS

BEng

Bachelor of Engineering

Bachelor’s degree

BEng (H)

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BEng/BSc

Bachelor of Engineering / Bachelor of Science

Bachelor’s degree

BFin

Bachelor of Finance

Bachelor’s degree

BHSc

Bachelor of Health Science

Bachelor’s degree

BM

Bachelor of Medicine

Bachelor’s degree

BMBS

Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BMed Sc

Bachelor of Medical Science

Bachelor’s degree

BMid

Bachelor of Midwifery

Bachelor’s degree

BMus

Bachelor of Music

Bachelor’s degree

BN

Bachelor of Nursing

Bachelor’s degree

BNurs

Bachelor of Nursing

Bachelor’s degree

BPA

Bachelor of Performing Arts

Bachelor’s degree

BSc

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor’s degree

BSc (H)

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BSc (Eco)

Bachelor of Science (Economics)

Bachelor’s degree

BSocSci

Bachelor of Social Sciences

Bachelor’s degree

BSW

Bachelor of Social Work

Bachelor’s degree

BSW (H)

Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BTech

Bachelor of Technology

Bachelor’s degree

BTh

Bachelor of Theology / Bachelor of Theology for Ministry

Bachelor’s degree

BVetMed

Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BVMedSci

Bachelor of Veterinary Medical Sciences

Bachelor’s degree with honours

BVSc

Bachelor of Veterinary Science

Bachelor’s degree with honours

CertEd

Certificate in Education

Certificate in Education

CertHE

Certificate of Higher Education

Certificate of Higher Education

DIP HE

Diploma of Higher Education

Diploma of Higher Education

Dip Law

Diploma in Law

Graduate diploma

FD

Foundation Degree

Foundation degree

FDa

Foundation Degree in Arts

Foundation degree

FdSc

Foundation Degree Sciences

Foundation degree

GradDip

Graduate Diploma

Graduate diploma

HNC

Higher National Certificate

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

HND

Higher National Diploma

Higher National Diploma (HND)

LLB

Bachelor of Law

Bachelor’s degree

LLB (H)

Bachelor of Law (Honours)

Bachelor’s degree with honours

MBBCh

Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery

Bachelor’s degree with honours

MBBS

Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery

Bachelor’s degree with honours

MBCHB

Medicine – Non-clinical

Bachelor’s degree with honours

MBCHBc

Medicine – Clinical

Bachelor’s degree with honours

PG Dip

Postgraduate Diploma

Postgraduate Diploma

PGCE

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

ProfGCE

Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (with Qualified Teacher Status)

Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (with Qualified Teacher Status)

UAdvDip

UAdvDip (DipHE)

Diploma of Higher Education

Equivalent or lower qualification (ELQ) exceptions

Students who want to study a secondary qualification could still get funding for fees or living costs if they meet the ELQ exception rule. This depends on the course they intend to study.

To be considered under the ELQ exceptions policy, the student must be studying an honours degree.

We will use the subject category (HECoS code) of the course to determine which part-time courses are exempt from the ELQ rule.

If a course has multiple HECoS codes, all of these must be eligible according to the subject category list and the additional specified list of eligible subjects.

English domiciled students

Full-time courses

According to the student support regulations, only courses in the below subject categories are eligible from AY 2019/20 as a full-time exception:

  • graduate entry medicine and dentistry
  • postgraduate pre-registration healthcare
  • subjects allied to medicine
  • initial teacher training
  • architecture

Part-time courses

According to the student support regulations, only courses in the below subject categories under version 1.2 of the Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) are eligible from AY 2019/20 as a part-time exception:

  • Medicine and Dentistry (CAH01)
  • Subjects allied to medicine (CAH02)
  • Biological and Sport Science (CAH03)
  • Psychology (CAH04)
  • Veterinary Sciences (CAH05)
  • Agriculture, food and related sciences (CAH06)
  • Physical Sciences (CAH07)
  • General and others in sciences (CAH08)
  • Mathematical Sciences (CAH09)
  • Engineering and Technology (CAH10)
  • Computing (CAH11)
  • Geographical and Environmental Studies (CAH12)

From AY 2020/21, version 1.3 of the Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) was implemented and the following rules apply in addition to the above:

  • Medicine and Dentistry (CAH01)
  • Subjects allied to medicine (CAH02)
  • Biological and Sport Science (CAH03)
  • Psychology (CAH04)
  • Veterinary Sciences (CAH05)
  • Agriculture, food and related sciences (CAH06)
  • Physical Sciences (CAH07)
  • Mathematical Sciences (CAH09)
  • Engineering and Technology (CAH10)
  • Computing (CAH11)
  • Geographical and Environmental Studies (CAH26)

Implementation of version 1.3 took place in November 2019 when it replaced version 1.2. This could mean that a course could be classified as CAH08 or CAH26 depending on when the student applied.

To qualify for allied health profession (AHP) disregard the course must fit the definition of 'subjects allied to medicine'. Any courses listed under the 'subjects allied to medicine' definition are considered for the previous study disregard introduced under the AY 2017/18 NHS changes. Any students who already hold an equivalent or higher qualification will not be entitled to further support.

According to the student support regulations, an AHP subject means:

  • chiropody
  • dental profession subjects
  • dietetics
  • dietetics and nutrition
  • occupational therapy
  • orthotics
  • orthotics and prosthetics
  • physiotherapy
  • podiatry
  • radiography
  • radiotherapy
  • speech and language therapy

Welsh domiciled students

Part-time courses

According to the student support regulations, courses in the below subject categories under version 1.2 of the Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) are eligible from AY 2019/20 as a part-time exception:

  • Subjects Allied to Medicine (CAH02)
  • Biological and Sport Science (CAH03)
  • Psychology (CAH04)
  • Veterinary Sciences (CAH05)
  • Agriculture, food and related sciences (CAH06)
  • Physical Sciences (CAH07)
  • Mathematical Sciences (CAH09)
  • Engineering and Technology (CAH10)
  • Computing (CAH11)

Welsh language courses which relate to the history, grammar and use of Welsh and have the HECoS codes 100333, 101163 and 100335 also apply. Eligible HECoS codes in addition to the subject categories above are:

  • Applied Environmental Sciences – 101078
  • Biogeography – 101352
  • Childhood Studies – 100456
  • Climate Change – 101070
  • Cultural Studies – 101233
  • Environmental Geography – 100408
  • Environmental Sciences – 100381
  • Ergonomics – 100052
  • Gender Studies – 100621
  • Geographical Information Systems – 100369
  • Geomorphology – 101064
  • Glaciology and Cryospheric Systems – 101394
  • Hair and Make-up – 100706
  • Hair Services – 101374
  • Heritage Management – 100807
  • History – 100302
  • Hydrology – 101079
  • Mapping Science – 101058
  • Maritime Geography – 101065
  • Philosophy – 100337
  • Physical Geography – 100410
  • Pollution Control – 101072
  • Psychology – 100497
  • Quaternary Studies – 101091
  • Radiology – 100131
  • Remote Sensing – 101056
  • Soil Science – 101067
  • Water Resource Management – 100986

From AY 2020/21, version 1.3 of the Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) was implemented. In addition to the above, the following HECoS codes which have moved to CAH26 (Geography, Earth and Environmental Studies) remain eligible:

  • Applied Geology (101104)
  • Atmosphere-ocean Interactions (101351)
  • Climate Science (100379)
  • Earth Sciences (100394)
  • Engineering Geology (101106)
  • Environmental Geoscience (100380)
  • Exploration Geology (101093)
  • Exploration Geophysics (101084)
  • Geochemistry (101083)
  • Geological Hazards (101082)
  • Geological Oceanography (101086)
  • Geology (100395)
  • Geophysics (100396)
  • Hydrogeology (101089)
  • Hydrography (101073)
  • Marine Sciences (100418)
  • Meteorology (100382)
  • Ocean Sciences (100421)
  • Palaeontology (100398)
  • Petroleum Geology (101105)
  • Volcanology (101081)
  • Materials Science (100225)
  • Archaeological Sciences (100384)
  • Crime Scene Investigation (101222)
  • Forensic Archaeology (101219)
  • Forensic Biology (100386)
  • Forensic Science (100388)

The following 3 HECoS codes will continue to be ineligible despite their move to CAH07 in version 1.3 of CAH:

  • Applied Science (100392)
  • General Science (100390)
  • Natural Sciences (100391)

Studying abroad

Student support regulations were changed in AY 2015/16 to allow providers more flexibility. Since then, universities and colleges have been offering more students the opportunity to study some of their degree overseas. These degrees are generally offered together with an overseas provider. Some are offered as dual degrees.

We have received questions around how to offer these courses and how to correctly build the course content to meet student funding designation and eligibility requirements.

You need to ensure that at least 50% of the teaching and learning of the course takes place at a UK provider. Course years abroad often run longer than those in the UK, usually due to earlier course start dates. You will need to confirm that at least 50% of study and supervision over the duration of the course years takes place in the UK.

For study periods abroad up to 15% of a full academic year’s fees is available for tuition fee support, unless the student attends the provider in the UK for 10 weeks or more in the academic year.

If the student attends full year abroad study, Erasmus+ or the alternative arrangement known as the 'Turing Scheme', the fees will be capped at 15%. This applies even if it is for 2 academic years out of 4.

We are closely monitoring dual degrees and courses offered with overseas providers to ensure that you follow designation requirements. If a course is incorrectly designated or a student is not eligible due to studying less than 50% of the course year in the UK, we need to use the overpayment recovery process for any incorrectly paid funding.

Determining mode of study

More and more providers are choosing to deliver courses with different methods of study. With changes like this, you may not always find it easy to determine the mode of study for your courses.

A course can have 4 modes of study:

  • full-time in attendance
  • full-time distance learning
  • part-time in attendance
  • part-time distance learning

The information here should help you determine the study mode of your courses.


Distance learning courses

The student support regulations define a distance learning course as:

'a course on which a student undertaking the course is not required to be in attendance by the institution providing the course, where required to be in attendance is not satisfied by a requirement imposed by the institution to attend any institution

(a) for the purposes of registration or enrolment or any examination;

(b) on a weekend or during any vacation; or

(c) on an occasional basis during the week'

You should use a process of elimination to determine if the course is distance learning.

Does your course meet this definition?

Yes: It is a distance learning course

No: It is an in attendance course


Full-time and part-time courses

The student support regulations do not give definitions of full-time or part-time courses. However, we use the following guidelines to decide whether a course is full-time.

Students on a full-time course will normally attend the university, college or other teaching location for at least 24 weeks within the year. During that time, they are expected to undertake:

  • periods of study
  • tuition
  • learning in the workplace
  • a sandwich work placement that does not meet the sandwich year out criteria

These should amount to an average of at least 21 hours per week.

You should use a process of elimination to determine if the course is full-time or part-time.

Does your course meet this definition?

Yes: Your course is full-time

No: Your course is part-time


Example

Thomas is a student who is studying a BA Hons in sports coaching. His course hours are as follows: 

  • 30 weeks online study including lectures and tutorials
  • 2 days per week physical attendance at sports academy
  • 6 days per year attendance at college or university

Step 1 : Determine if the course is distance learning or in attendance.

Thomas needs to attend the sports academy on a regular basis, rather than an occasional basis, therefore this is an in-attendance course.

Step 2: Determine whether the course is full-time or part-time.

Look at the study hours and determine if they are full-time or part-time.

Thomas needs to attend the sports academy 2 days per week and the course is of a structured nature. Therefore, it is a full-time in-attendance course.

The points that help you determine this are:

  • the requirement to attend a location or sports club for study purposes
  • the requirement to meet a minimum number of hours of attendance per week
  • the structured nature of the course and the days of attendance required at the university or college

When determining the mode of study, you should consider the format of study. Is it all online or will the student need to attend seminars, workshops, or lectures?

Also look at the frequency of the study. For example, is there a structured timetable that requires regular online attendance at scheduled lectures, seminars, tutorials or discussion forums?

If the student is expected to attend any of the above frequently, rather than occasionally, then the course is not distance learning.

If regular attendance is required, meaning the student must be at a specific place to study, the course is not distance learning.

Course data fields

This section gives you an overview of the course data fields you can use on CMS.

Add Course

You can add the following information in the Add Course section: 

  • start year
  • funding level
  • study mode
  • accelerated course
  • domicile
  • postgraduate options

Start year

Use the dropdown menu to choose the academic year you want to set the course up for.

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

Funding level

Use the radio buttons to choose the funding level of the course you are creating.

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

If you select postgraduate funding level, the system will ask you if the course is to enable:

  • English or Welsh domiciled students to apply for Postgraduate Master’s Loan or Postgraduate Doctoral Loan products
  • Northern Irish domiciled students to apply for the Northern Ireland Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan
  • Scottish domiciled students to apply for the SAAS Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

If your course is an accelerated course, you should indicate it at this stage. CMS will then let you add the higher course fee on the Course Details screen.

Study mode

Use the radio buttons to choose full-time or part-time study mode.

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

Accelerated course

Select this option if you are creating an accelerated course.

It is only available to English providers creating a full-time undergraduate course.

What are accelerated courses?

To widen participation and offer more flexible study patterns from AY 2019/20, higher education providers in England can offer accelerated degrees with higher fee amounts per academic year. Most students on these courses will be able to access the higher fee funding.

The most important points about accelerated degrees are:

  • the higher fee cap is available to English providers only
  • only students starting a course in AY 2019/20 or later are eligible for the higher fee funding
  • the maximum fee rates for accelerated courses are 1.2 times the maximum standard fee rate per academic year (rounded to the nearest whole £5)
  • the maximum fee chargeable per academic year is £11,100
  • postgraduate initial teacher training (PG ITT) courses are not eligible
  • the maintenance support available to students on accelerated degrees will remain 'as is' (loan for living costs and long course loans for additional weeks of study where applicable)
  • previous study rules remain 'as is'
  • the maximum values for Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) remain the same
  • accelerated courses can be studied by attendance or distance learning
  • accelerated course funding is allowed for placement and study abroad years, as long as the required conditions are met (the course must be at least one year shorter than an equivalent standard-length course, at least 50% must be studied in the UK and the degree must be awarded in the UK)

The Welsh Government has confirmed it will not provide additional funding up to the higher fee cap for its students. However, it will fund up to a standard course fee cap.  Welsh students will need to self-fund the difference.

English, Scottish and Northern Irish students can access funding up to the higher fee rate. However, Northern Irish students studying at an Approved provider will continue to be subject to a maximum fee cap of £4,275 for both standard and accelerated degree courses.


Domicile

For postgraduate master’s courses, select the student domicile it is meant for.

This is a mandatory field for all postgraduate master's courses.

Postgraduate options

Use the radio buttons to select Master’s or Doctorate.

This option is only available when you have selected postgraduate funding level with an England or Wales domicile. It is a mandatory selection for these courses.

Course Details

You can add the following information in the Course Details section: 

  • course name
  • qualification
  • duration
  • foundation year
  • total credits
  • UCAS code
  • HEP course code
  • subject category (HECoS)
  • locations
  • available course years
  • designation
  • fees
  • term dates
  • add another intake

Course name

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

Enter a description of the course. This can be up to 120 characters long.

The course name should always be the exact name of the course, as marketed in your prospectus or on your website.

You should not enter any other information (for example, study mode or a course attribute such as placement) as part of the course name. All other attributes will be captured elsewhere when you create the course. Showing the course name exactly as you market it will help your students apply for the correct course the first time.

If you have courses that share a course and UCAS code (for example courses that run with or without a sandwich or placement year), you should still include a unique identifier in the course title. For example, you could call the course 'Business Studies with placement year'. This will help your attendance return in the Student Information Service (SIS) if you are using the file import option.

For postgraduate doctoral courses, the course name should include a unique identifier. This can be the subject or faculty, for example, civil engineering. The course name should not be a generic doctoral course or the title of a student’s thesis.

Qualification

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

Use the dropdown list to choose the correct qualification for your course.

We have worked closely with the Department for Education (DfE) and the devolved authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to create a concise and comprehensive list of course qualifications.

The following qualifications remain in the undergraduate qualification dropdown list on CMS. These courses are not eligible for postgraduate loans because they still attract undergraduate funding:

  • postgraduate ITT courses
  • Master’s of Architecture
  • integrated master’s
  • English postgraduate healthcare courses

Duration

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

Use the dropdown list to select the correct duration for your course. For part-time courses, enter the full-time equivalent where relevant.

Foundation year

This is a subcategory of the Duration field. It is an optional selection that only applies to full-time undergraduate courses.

Some full-time undergraduate courses are extended beyond their normal length to include a foundation year. This is for entrants whose qualifications or experience are acceptable for entry to higher education, but not entirely appropriate for normal entry to their chosen course of study.

Students are eligible for funding if the foundation year is an integral part of the course, not a standalone course. The course needs to be designated by or under the regulations, with students enrolling for the full duration of the extended course at the outset.

Let’s look at an example where a student enrols in a 4-year course with an integrated foundation year. After that year, the student transfers onto a course with a different course code.

In this case, the award authority is bound by the regulations to reassess the student’s standard entitlement as if the student is transferring course.

This means that once the student changes course, regardless of whether this is a chosen pathway, they would be using up their additional year of funding (sometimes referred to as a gift year or a +1).

This can affect students if they have studied previously or need to repeat a year in the future, unless the course they are transferring to also has a foundation year and the student is going into an advanced year.

To create a full-time undergraduate course with a foundation year, select the Add Foundation Year checkbox in the Course Duration field. This will create a course with the selected duration but with a marked foundation year (year 0).

Total credits

This is a mandatory field for part-time undergraduate courses.

Enter the total credit value for the full duration of the course. You can enter up to 4 digits.

UCAS code

This is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) code: a 4-character alphanumeric reference assigned to a course.

It is an optional field for full-time courses.

HEP course code

This is an alphanumeric field for your own internal course code. You can create up to 5 codes.

This is an optional field for all courses.

You can add to or change these codes at any point. You can also use them to tag and group courses by type, such as placement courses or fee variances.

If you use the course search on CMS, you can filter by HEP course code to help you group your courses in any way you choose.

Subject category (HECoS)

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

It is a 6-digit code in the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS).

CMS will show HECoS codes that match the code you are entering. Select the correct code when you see it. You can enter up to 5 subject categories for each course.

What are HECoS codes used for?

From AY 2019/20 a new subject coding system replaced JACS codes. This is known as the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS).

HECoS describes the subject content of courses at UK higher education providers.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) developed HECoS to randomly generate code identifiers and avoid the coding frame running out of space.

You can find more detailed information about HECoS on the HESA website. They also have guidance on how to add the correct HECoS codes to your courses.

The subject is a generic classification. It does not show the level of study and is only meant to capture the subject of the course. We use the same list for courses at any level: undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education programmes.

You can record up to 5 subject categories against a single course if needed. For example, a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and Mathematics would have 2 subject categories, one for geography and one for mathematics.

We use HECoS codes to determine a student’s entitlement. We also use them to tell which part-time courses are exempt from the Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) rule.

It is very important that the HECoS codes you enter are correct to the best of your knowledge. An incorrect HECoS code can have a significant effect on a student’s level of funding.


Adding a HECoS code to a new course

New courses from AY 2019/20 no longer need a JACS code but do need a HECoS code.

Use the Subject categories (HECoS) field in the Course Details section of CMS to enter the HECoS code.

This image shows the Course Details page on CMS with the Subject Categories (HECoS) field highlighted.

CMS will check that you enter a recognised HECoS code. For example, the code must have 6 digits. It must also be compatible with the Common Aggregation Hierarchy on the HESA website.

If you need to add more codes, select Add another HECoS code. Each code must be unique. CMS will not let you save a course that has 2 or more identical HECoS codes.

Always check that the HECoS codes are correct before you save the course. An incorrect code could stop a student from accessing funding.

Once you have entered the HECoS codes and are happy they are correct, select Save changes under the Course Attributes section. You can then move on to updating the rest of the course details in the Academic Year section.

If you need to change the HECoS code after you have saved the course, contact our Partners Support Desk.


Adding a HECoS code to a copied course

If you are copying an existing course from a previous academic year, you will need to enter a HECoS code.

When you start updating the copied course details, you will notice that the JACS field is no longer visible. You will see the Subject categories (HECoS) field instead. The JACS code will not be included, as you are creating a new course.

Follow the instructions under Adding a HECoS code to a new course to include the HECoS codes with your copied course.


Adding a HECoS code to an existing course

When you update a course that did not have a HECoS code before, you must enter the HECoS code before you can save the course. Update the HECoS code first before you make any updates to the Academic Year section.

To add a HECoS code, open the existing course. On the Course Details page, you will now see a field called Subject categories (HECoS).

To enter HECoS codes, select the Edit link at the top of the page.

This image shows the Course Details page on CMS with the Edit link highlighted.

This opens a free text field where you can enter the HECoS code.

This image shows a screenshot of the free text field where you can enter the HECoS code.

CMS will check that you enter a recognised HECoS code. For example, the code must have 6 digits. It must also be compatible with the Common Aggregation Hierarchy on the HESA website.

If you need to add more codes, select Add another HECoS code. Each code must be unique. CMS will not let you save a course that has 2 or more identical HECoS codes.

Always check that the HECoS codes are correct before you save the course. An incorrect code could stop a student from accessing funding.

Once you have entered the HECoS codes and are happy they are correct, select Save changes under the Course Attributes section. You can then move on to updating the rest of the course details in the Academic Year section.

If you need to change the HECoS code after you have saved the course, contact our Partners Support Desk.


JACS to HECoS mapping: error scenarios

HECoS was developed in part to provide more robust coding and to address inconsistencies in the JACS framework. It has allowed for courses to be more accurately categorised. This means that some courses now fall under a different, more accurate subject category.

For example, Hair and Beauty Science has moved from 'subjects allied to medicine' to 'biological and sport sciences'.

Courses in the 'medicine and dentistry' and 'subjects allied to medicine' categories may have attributes that affect a student’s entitlement. It is thus very important that you apply the correct course attributes when you map a JACS code to a HECoS code.

CMS includes validation for existing courses in the 'medicine and dentistry' and 'subjects allied to medicine' categories. This helps to ensure they have an accurate HECoS code.

You should pay close attention to courses that have a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' JACS code and have course attributes set up. For example, they might have the Attracts NHS Bursary attribute. Make sure to enter an equivalent HECoS code to these courses.

The same applies to courses that the HECoS mapping system puts in the 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' categories even if they do not have a corresponding JACS code.

The following scenarios show how this can apply to your existing courses.


Scenario 1

The JACS code is not a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code.

The course does not have medical attributes (such as NHS Bursary or Pre-registration).

The HECoS code is a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code. 

CMS will let you save the course as it does not currently have any medical course attributes.

This also means that while it is now categorised under 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' you will not see the option to add medical course attributes.

If your course has a medical attribute such as Pre-registration or Attracts NHS Bursary, you should contact our Partners Support Desk immediately. The support desk will tell you what you need to do to ensure your course is updated correctly. This helps to make sure that your students receive the correct level of funding.


Scenario 2

The JACS code is a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code.

The course has medical attributes set up (for example NHS Bursary or Pre-registration).

The HECoS code is not a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code. 

CMS will not let you save this course.

You cannot have a course with a medical attribute that does not have a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' HECoS code.

When you try to save the course, CMS will show an error message.

You should contact our Partners Support Desk. The support desk will tell you what you need to do to ensure your course is updated correctly.


Scenario 3

The qualification is postgraduate healthcare.

The JACS code is a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code.

The HECoS code is not a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code. 

CMS will not let you save this course.

For postgraduate healthcare courses, the HECoS code must fall under the 'subjects allied to medicine' category.

CMS will not let you save a postgraduate healthcare course until one of the HECoS codes you have entered is a 'subjects allied to medicine' code.

Likewise, when you create a new postgraduate healthcare course, its HECoS code needs to be a 'subjects allied to medicine' code.


Scenario 4

The JACS code is not a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code.

The course does not have any medical attributes (such as NHS Bursary or Pre-registration).

The HECoS code is not a 'medicine and dentistry' or 'subjects allied to medicine' code. 

CMS will let you save the course.

There is a link between the subject category you select and the healthcare-related course attributes. Only courses set up with a subject category of Medicine, Dentistry or Subjects Allied to Medicine can have one or more of the following healthcare attributes checked:

  • Medicine/Dentistry
  • NHS Bursary
  • Paramedic course
  • Dental Hygiene/Therapy

Locations

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

Use it to select the locations of your course. You can enter the same course with multiple locations.

You must first create your location options on the Locations tab.

Available course years

You can use this function to determine if a particular year of a course should be visible to students applying online. This will let you manage individual student applications more effectively.

This is an optional selection that's available for undergraduate courses.

The selection will default to All students. Use the radio buttons to select the option you need. 

For full-time undergraduate courses, this selection can differ for each year of your course. For example:

  • year 1 – no students
  • year 2 – returners (continuing students and repeaters)
  • year 3 – all students

You can use this function to phase in or phase out courses. It gives you greater flexibility than using the open or closed course status indicator.

You can edit the available course at any time, although any changes you make can take up to 4 hours to filter through to our application system.

If you do not have administrative access to CMS, you should email our Partners Support Desk with any requests to use this function. We will then administer on your behalf.

This function has no effect on students who have already applied or been approved for a course. It is simply a tool you can use to manage which course years students can select when they apply. Similarly, there is no effect on downstream systems (for example, Change of Circumstance notifications in SIS) for students who are already approved on the courses that you edit.

Students who apply on paper will have their applications approved as usual. This happens even if you have amended the available course years to prevent applications. This function is for online applications only.

If you have set a course year to Returners and an End On student tries to apply, they will not be able to. This is because End On students are classed as new students. In this instance you should amend the course year to All students so that the End On student can apply. Once the student has applied, you should switch the course year back to Returners.

Scenario for phasing out a course

Let’s say that you have a 3-year full-time undergraduate course that is running in AY 2020/21. You do not want to take on any new students for the following academic years. In this case, you should set the Available Course Years as follows.

 

2020/21 Course set up

2021/22 Course set up

2022/23 Course set up

2023/24 Course set up

Year 1

All students

No students

No students

No students

Year 2

All students

Returners

No students

No students

Year 3

All students

Returners

Returners

No students

 


Designation

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

It lets you select the countries of students that your course should be available to:

  • England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

Only students from the domiciles you have selected on CMS can view and apply for that course in our Customer Portal.

When you add courses, you will only be able to select the domiciles that your university or college has been designated for. You can find out more about designation in the Designation chapter of this guide.

English providers

Approved (fee cap) providers

Providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) in the Approved (fee cap) category have their designation status automatically added for all domiciles. CMS will default to designate your courses in all domiciles. However, you can change this at course level if you have courses only for students from a specific country.


Approved providers

Providers registered with OfS in the Approved category have automatic designation for English students only. If you are an Approved provider and need designation for students from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you must be specifically designated by the appropriate domicile. Only then can eligible students access student support.


Alternative Providers in AY 2018/19

If you were an Alternative Provider in AY 2018/19, you must have your courses specifically designated for Scottish students to access student support. This applies regardless of which category you are now registered in with OfS.


Scottish and Northern Irish providers

Authority funded providers

Authority funded providers (often called public providers) are maintained or assisted by recurrent grants out of public funds.

These providers are automatically designated for all domiciles. CMS will default to designate courses as such.

You can change this at course level if you have courses only for students from a specific country.


Alternative providers

An Alternative Provider is a provider that:

  • is not maintained or assisted by recurrent grants out of public funds
  • does not receive any other form of direct annual public funding (for example, from a local authority or the Secretary of State for Education)
  • is not a further education college

Courses that are provided wholly or in part by an Alternative Provider fall outside the scope of any automatic designation under the regulations.

These courses need to be specifically designated so that eligible students may access student support.


Welsh providers

From 1 August 2017, the automatic designation of full-time higher education courses applies only to courses provided by 'recognised educational institutions'.

A 'recognised educational institution' is defined as any of the following:

  • a Welsh regulated institution, meaning an institution which has a fee and access plan approved by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) under Section 7 of the Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 while that plan remains in force
  • an English regulated institution, that is an institution maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from OfS
  • an institution in Scotland or Northern Ireland that is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants out of public funds

If a higher education course is not automatically designated, HEFCW will need to specifically designate it before students can apply for financial support from the Welsh Government. The Welsh Ministers may designate such courses on a course-by-course basis.


Postgraduate master’s

You should select the countries of students that you want your course to be available to. Only students from the domiciles you have checked in CMS can view and apply for that course in our Customer Portal.

In AY 2016/17 only English domiciled and EU students were eligible to apply for Postgraduate Master’s Loans. When you added a course with a postgraduate master’s funding level in AY 2016/17, the domicile designation defaulted to England only. There was no option for you to change this.

From AY 2017/18 English, Welsh and EU students are eligible to apply for Postgraduate Master’s Loans. If you add a course with a postgraduate master’s funding level now, the domicile designation defaults to England and Wales only. You can deselect either England or Wales but you cannot add any further domiciles. Once you save a course there is no option to add another domicile.

From AY 2017/18 Northern Ireland domiciled students are eligible to apply for the Northern Ireland Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. You can set up postgraduate courses on CMS specifically for Northern Irish students. These courses default to the Northern Ireland domicile only.

From AY 2020/21 you can set up Scottish postgraduate courses in CMS specifically for Scottish students. These courses default to Scotland only.


Postgraduate doctoral

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans are only available from Student Finance England (SFE) and Student Finance Wales (SFW) for courses offered by UK providers with research degree awarding powers (R-DAPs). Only providers that have been granted research degree awarding powers can award doctoral degrees.

There are instances where a provider without R-DAPs (Provider A) may enter a validation arrangement with a provider with R-DAPs (Provider B). In these instances, Provider B approves a programme of study offered by Provider A. This contributes to the award of a doctoral qualification from Provider B.

In validation arrangements like these, the degree awarding body (Provider B) is ultimately responsible for:

  • the academic standards of any awards granted in its name
  • the quality of the learning programme

If your doctoral courses are validated by a provider with R-DAPs, please contact your HEP account manager or email our Partners Support Desk to find out if your courses are eligible and how to add them to CMS.

From AY 2018/19 English and Welsh students can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. When you add a course with a funding level of postgraduate doctorate, the domicile designation defaults to England and Wales only. You can deselect either England or Wales but you cannot add any further domiciles. Once you save the course there is no option to add another domicile.

Only students whose domiciles you have selected on CMS can view and apply for that course in our Customer Portal.


Fees

This is a mandatory field for:

  • all undergraduate courses
  • postgraduate courses for Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI) students

You can only enter digits in this field. For full-time courses, enter the course fee per year. For part-time courses, enter only one course fee.

You can enter fees for each course year over all domiciles or expand this section to make domicile-specific changes.

We will already have entered your provider fee cap on CMS. You can enter fees up to this value.

Undergraduate fees

On the Provider page of CMS, you will see an academic year specific provider fee cap for both full-time and part-time courses. We administer this fee cap on your behalf.

You cannot enter any course fees that exceed your fee cap. The only exception to this rule is for an accelerated degree. When you enter the fee for an accelerated degree, CMS will allow you to add a fee of up to 1.2 times your fee cap.

At course level you can enter different fee caps for each domicile. This lets you manage fee variants and caps. For example, Welsh and Northern Irish providers will be able to manage their separate fee structures for students from different domiciles within one course.

The system defaults to apply the same fee rates across all domiciles. You should deselect this option if you want to enter a different fee amount for a particular domicile.

You can also enter a course fee rate of zero for a particular year. This may be useful if you offer courses with a placement year.

You will only need to enter one fee rate for part-time courses regardless of the duration selected. You can still enter different fee rates for each domicile if the course is split over multiple domiciles.

With the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) from AY 2017/18, providers that achieve TEF status can charge a higher fee amount than providers that do not.

It is at your discretion whether you apply the higher TEF fee amount to all course years for all students, or just to course year one for new students.

You can submit fee Change of Circumstance notifications on the Student Information Service (SIS) for direct entry students who apply to a course year that has a lower fee amount than your provider fee cap.


Postgraduate fees

We pay Student Finance England (SFE) and Student Finance Wales (SFW) Postgraduate Master’s and Doctoral Loans directly to the student. Therefore, you do not need to enter the course fee rate on CMS.

When you add a course with a postgraduate master’s or doctorate funding level and select SFE or SFW, no course fee box appears on the course capture screen.

You need to enter a tuition fee when you set up a course with Northern Ireland Tuition Fee Loan funding. When you set up this type of course, you will need to enter a fee rate per course year. This can be higher than your provider fee cap on the Provider page of CMS.

You need to enter a tuition fee when you set up a Scottish postgraduate course. If the course duration is more than one year, you should split the fees equally across the course years. The fee can be higher than your provider fee cap on the Provider page of CMS.


Term dates

This is a mandatory field for all courses.

All undergraduate and postgraduate courses you add to CMS need 3 sets of term dates to pass system validation. For full-time undergraduate courses, postgraduate master’s and doctoral courses, you should add term dates for all years. This means you can add variable term dates for each year if you need to.

Once you have entered all term dates for all years of a new course, you can add another intake of the course. This means that if you are creating a September start course, you can also enter a separate intake for the same course which starts later in the academic year (for example, in January).

You cannot add an intake after you have saved the course, so we recommend that you add all intakes before saving the course.

You can create up to 12 intakes under a postgraduate course, one per month. If you have multiple intakes in one month for postgraduate doctoral courses, you should choose a generic date in the month and add the course with one intake for that month.

You can amend the first intake month when you save the course in a new academic year. For example, if your course had a September intake this year, you can change it to October next year.

For full-time undergraduate courses, only courses with a compressed course year can have a term 3 start date before 1 April. No other undergraduate course should have a term 3 start date before 1 April. This is to prevent the scheduling of 3 lots of tuition fee payments within one financial year. There is further information on accelerated, compressed and shortened courses in the Creating a full-time undergraduate course chapter.

In the years when a bank holiday falls at the beginning of April, the term 3 start date should be 3 April at the earliest. Our payment system schedules payments before the bank holiday. This means that even if term 3 start date falls on 1 or 2 April, the payments will need to be processed in March.

You should not set the term start and end dates for a Saturday or Sunday when the course does not start or end on either of those days.

You must ensure that the term dates you enter accurately reflect the teaching you provide to students on that course.

Add another intake

You can add intakes as needed when you create a course. Once the course is saved you cannot add another intake. You can create only one intake for each calendar month.

This is an optional function for all courses.

Attributes

You can apply various specific attributes to courses in CMS. These will help us to ensure that students get the correct level of support during the application process.

There is no limit on the number of attributes you can apply to a single course. However, not all attributes are applicable to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Course attributes can significantly affect a student’s entitlement, so you must ensure any attributes you add to a course are correct.

You can add the following information in the Attributes section: 

  • NHS Bursary
  • distance learning
  • placement year
  • intercalated course
  • medicine/dentistry course
  • undergraduate entry
  • graduate entry
  • paramedic
  • Operating Department Practice
  • pre-registration
  • Dental Hygiene/Therapy

NHS Bursary

This indicator is only available for undergraduate courses. You can use it to show that the course is applicable for an NHS Bursary. 

Students on health-related courses that attract NHS funding can receive various elements of support. When you select this attribute against a full-time course, you must also select the years that the bursary applies to. You can do this in the Academic Year section labelled NHS Bursary Years. However, if you select this attribute when setting up a part-time course, it will apply to the whole course.

You cannot use the NHS Bursary indicator at the same time as the Medicine/Dentistry attribute.

We assess students based on how the course is set up in CMS. It is therefore critical that you set up appropriate courses with the NHS Bursary attribute and set this against the relevant course years.

Distance learning

Distance learning is a course attribute that shows the method of attendance. You should only select it when all students on the course are studying via distance learning.

This is an optional attribute you can use for all courses.

What is a distance learning course?

Distance learning is a mode of delivery for students who do not attend traditional on-campus courses.

It is becoming more common to deliver courses which combine different methods of study. These are known as blended learning courses. They combine traditional classroom teaching with online learning and independent study.

There has been some confusion as to whether these courses should be added as distance learning courses.

Courses of any teaching method are distance learning if the students only attend occasionally, for example once a term.

If students attend regularly and follow a structured timetable, for example once a week, the course is not distance learning and you should not add it to CMS as such.

Placement year

Placement year is a course attribute that shows the method of attendance. It lets you flag the placement year.

This is an optional attribute that is only available for undergraduate courses. It consists of alternating periods of full-time study and work experience or external study.

Courses where the majority of study happens overseas are not designated for student support.

You can only use the placement attribute for full-time courses. It is not available when you create a part-time course. You can apply the placement attribute to more than one year of an individual course.

There is further information on placement and sandwich courses on our practitioners website.

Intercalated course

You can set this indicator to flag an intercalated course.

This is an optional attribute that's only available for undergraduate courses.

An intercalated course is a course that:

  • is not higher than first degree level
  • leads to more than one qualification, either as an option or an integral part of the course, which will be considered as single courses

There is further information on intercalated courses on our practitioners website.

Medicine/dentistry course

This is an optional attribute for undergraduate courses. You can use it for both full-time and part-time courses to show:

  • that the course is a medical or dental course
  • whether entry was at undergraduate or graduate level

Based on this distinction student support will vary. 

You can only select this attribute if the course has a CAH1 HECoS code.

You cannot use this attribute at the same time as the Attracts NHS Bursary attribute. You should also not use it for Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy courses.

There is further information on medical and dental courses on our practitioners website.

Undergraduate entry

This is a subcategory of the medicine/dentistry attribute. You can set this indicator to show that the course is an undergraduate entry course.

Graduate entry

This is a subcategory of the medicine/dentistry attribute. You can set this indicator to show that the course is a graduate entry course.

Paramedic course

This indicator will become active when you enter the paramedic science HECoS code. It is an optional attribute for undergraduate courses. You can deselect it if you need to.

Students on paramedic courses need to be assessed in a particular manner, as some of the courses attract NHS support and some do not. We use this attribute to manually check these students’ applications. 

Operating Department Practice

This indicator will automatically become active when you enter the Operating Department Practice HECoS code. You can deselect it if you need to.

This is an optional attribute that only applies to part-time undergraduate courses.

We use it to assess students for a Part-Time Maintenance Loan.

Pre-registration

You can use this indicator to show that the course is a pre-registration course.

This is an optional attribute for undergraduate courses.

You should select it for courses receiving an NHS Bursary.

Dental Hygiene/Therapy

You can use this indicator to highlight any dental hygiene or dental therapy courses.

Part-time dental hygiene or dental therapy courses should have this indicator to allow students to apply for a Part-Time Maintenance Loan.

You should not use this attribute for courses in any other subjects.

Creating courses

This section tells you how to create courses on CMS.

Creating a full-time undergraduate course

This chapter will tell you how to create a full-time undergraduate course.

It covers everything you will need to know before you start adding these courses to CMS, including:

  • eligibility
  • academic year and course duration
  • term dates and holidays
  • fees
  • qualifications

Eligibility

Students on a full-time undergraduate course will normally attend the university, college or other teaching location for at least 24 weeks of the year.

During that time, they are expected to undertake:

  • periods of study
  • tuition
  • learning in the workplace
  • a sandwich work placement that does not meet the sandwich year out criteria

These should amount to at least 21 hours per week on average.

Apprenticeship and graduate entry courses

Apprenticeship and graduate entry courses are not eligible for funding and should not be added to the Courses Management Service (CMS).

However, there are a number of undergraduate courses where a degree in a relevant subject is a prerequisite to entry. These courses therefore qualify for funding:

  • graduate entry – veterinary medicine
  • graduate entry – medicine
  • graduate entry – dentistry

Postgraduate courses for Scottish students

From AY 2020/21, you can add postgraduate courses for Scottish students as a postgraduate course rather than an undergraduate course.

There is now a domicile radio button for Scotland on the Courses tab that lets you add this type of course.

There is more information about this in the Scottish postgraduate courses chapter.


Academic years

The regulations define the academic year as a 12-month period beginning on either 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July. The date depends on when the course started.

This means that the maximum funding we can award to a student starting in September or October, for example, covers the academic year from 1 September until 31 August the following year. This applies to Tuition Fee Loans, Maintenance Grants and loans for living costs.

If a course runs beyond the end of the academic year, students will not be funded for the period between the end of the academic year and the end of the last term.

Date course started

Academic year

Between 1 August and 31 December

1 September to 31 August

Between 1 January and 31 March

1 January to 31 December

Between 1 April and 30 June

1 April to 31 March

Between 1 July and 31 July

1 July to 30 June

 

Term dates

Term dates let us determine when and how much to pay your students. This depends on how long they are studying with you that year.

It is very important that the number of teaching weeks you enter on CMS is accurate. Teaching weeks are weeks when your students are attending lectures, doing course work or taking exams.

Term start dates

Your term dates should be linked to the season your course begins.

There are restrictions to how early a term can begin. This is to make sure students’ payments are spread out throughout the academic year.

 

Academic year start: Autumn (August to December)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 August

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 April

 

Academic year start: Winter (January to March)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 April

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 July

 

Academic year start: Spring (April to June)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 April

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 July

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 January

 

Academic year start: Summer (July)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 July

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 April

 

The only exception to this rule is the final course year, where you can compress term dates into the remaining period of attendance.

If a bank holiday falls at the beginning of April, the term 3 start date should be no earlier than 3 April. Our system schedules payments before the bank holiday, which means even if a term 3 start date falls on 1 or 2 April, the payments will need to be processed in March.

You should not set the term start and end dates for a Saturday or Sunday when the course does not start or end on either of those days.


Course duration

You can select a full-time undergraduate course with a duration of between one 1 and 6 years.

You can also have the option to indicate if the course contains a foundation year.


Freshers and exam weeks

Freshers weeks

We do not count Freshers weeks as weeks of teaching.

You should not include these in term dates unless your students are attending lectures, doing course work or taking exams.

If you want this week to be marked as the start of term for funding, then you must remove a week from your term length.


Exam weeks

You should include exam periods in your term dates, as they count within your overall teaching weeks. However, do not include periods where students are waiting for their results.


Holiday periods

You should account for holiday periods when entering term dates. Do not include them within any term.

For example, if a student started their course in October, we would expect the term dates to exclude the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.

In CMS we only need the start date and end date of each term. You should remove a week from your term length if you have a midterm holiday.


Semesters or terms?

Many universities and colleges operate on 2 semesters, rather than 3 separate terms.

We pay students at 3 points throughout their academic year, so we still need to maintain the 3 terms in our systems.

If you use semesters, you should create term dates that reflect your students’ study pattern as closely as possible. You could use any holiday periods in the second semester as a natural break for your terms.


Long courses

Any course with term dates over 30 weeks and 3 days is classed as long course.

The length of your course could entitle some students to more maintenance support. CMS will tell you when you enter term dates that exceed 30 weeks and 3 days and ask you to confirm that these are correct.

Where the long course status changes from one academic year to the next, you should check that your term dates are correct. Sometimes, this can show that term dates are wrong.


Fees

You can enter different fees at course level, for each domicile and for each year of the course.

A common error when entering fees is an increase for returning students. When you are adding course fees to a new academic year, check that their fees have not increased unless their previous year was a placement year.

Accelerated courses

  1. To create an accelerated course for new students, first go to the Add Course screen and select the Start year and Funding level. Then select the Accelerated check box.

    This image shows the Add a Course screen with the Accelerated checkbox selected.

    Validation on this screen ensures that the academic year you select determines what course types you can create for that year in line with policy.

    Courses that have been created in a previous academic year will automatically appear in any future academic year, ready to be saved. When you add a new course, the system will create a new SLC course code (or codes if there are several course variants).

  2. Select Continue. This will take you to the Course Details screen. The Study Mode field here will show that you have chosen to create an accelerated degree.

    This image shows the Course Details screen with the Study Mode indicating an accelerated course.

  3. Choose the appropriate option from the Qualification dropdown. An accelerated course can lead to one of 3 qualifications: Bachelor Degree, Bachelor Degree with Honours or Integrated Masters Degree.

    This image shows the Qualification dropdown on the Course Details screen.

  4. Select the course duration from the Duration dropdown. This has options from 1 to 5 years, according to the eligibility guidelines.

    The accelerated course should be studied over the length of an equivalent standard-length course less one year. You do not need to provide a standard-length course in the same qualification and subject. In this context, an equivalent course is one that would lead to the same or equivalent academic award in the same or equivalent subject.

    This image shows the Duration dropdown on the Course Details screen.

     

  5. Add all the relevant course attributes as you would for your other courses.
    Note that you cannot select the Medicine/Dentistry attribute on accelerated courses as special provisions already exist for these students. If you try to select this attribute, you will get an error message and will not be able to save the course.

  6. Enter the course fee. For an accelerated course, CMS will let you enter a fee of up to 1.2 times your provider fee cap (rounded up or down to the nearest whole £5). If you enter a fee higher than 1.2 times your fee cap, you will get an error message and will not be able to save the course.

  7. Enter your term dates. You should follow the term date guidance for full-time undergraduate courses.
    Long course loans are still available for accelerated courses, in addition to the standard rates of loan for living costs.

Shortened and compressed courses

Where you have a compressed or shortened academic year, students will only be entitled to tuition and living cost support for the next year after a full 12-month period has passed.

A compressed academic year of study is not the same as an accelerated, compressed or fast-track course. These are defined separately in the Education (Student Support) Regulations.

If you are charging £6,000 for the first year of a full-time course starting in January, you can charge students a full £6,000. This applies whether they are taking this first year over the full academic year (January to December) or in a compressed or shortened mode (for example, January to August). However, you cannot receive a further tuition fee loan for the second year of that course until 1 January the following year.

Students starting full-time or part-time courses where the first year is compressed or shortened can apply for the same up front tuition fee loans as students completing a full academic year. However, they will not be able to apply for a second year of tuition fee or living costs support until after the end of the full academic year period. This is as defined by regulations.

A simplified way to look at this scenario is that unless a student is transferring to a new course or has withdrawn from one course to begin another, their academic year start will remain the same throughout their studies.

If you enter term dates for a compressed or shortened academic year, you will need to confirm this before you can save the course details. CMS will show a confirmation check box that says, 'This course includes a compressed year'.

This image shows the confirmation check box that says, 'This course includes a compressed year'.

Entering term dates – undergraduate courses only

English, Scottish and Northern Irish domiciled students

You should ensure that term dates in CMS reflect the term date advice in this guide. Do not enter term dates that overlap in the same academic year.

 

Example 1

A student begins a 2.5-year degree programme with a shortened first academic year.

The student’s study pattern is:

Year 1 – January to July
Year 2 – September to July
Year 3 – September to July

CMS must show their study pattern as:

Year 1 – January to December
Year 2 – January to December
Year 3 – January to July

 

Example 2

A student begins a shortened foundation year before progressing onto the chosen degree pathway.

The student’s study pattern is:

Year 1 – September to December
Year 2 – January to December
Year 3 – January to December
Year 4 – January to December

CMS must show their study pattern as:

Year 1 – September to July
Year 2 – September to July
Year 3 – September to July
Year 4 – September to December

Where the final academic year is less than 15 weeks, you cannot receive more than £4,500 in tuition fee loan or grant. This fee reflects the shortened academic year.

For full-time courses, you should space the term dates throughout the academic year. This guarantees that students are paid at regular intervals, while still respecting the liability period restrictions. It also means that the term lengths reflect the teaching the students receive, though we appreciate this may not align with your true academic schedule.


Welsh domiciled students

The Welsh Government lets students on a compressed or shortened academic year access the next year’s support from the point the next year of study begins.

 

Example 1

February start, compressed first year, annual tuition charge £8,000.

Liability point 1 (4 February):

  • you confirm the student’s attendance
  • we pay you £2,000 fee loan or grant in February

Liability point 2 (22 April):

  • you confirm the student’s attendance
  • we pay you £2,000 fee loan or grant in May

Liability point 3 (5 July):

  • you confirm the student’s attendance
  • we pay you £4,000 fee loan or grant paid in October

The student begins the second year of the course in September. They will have access to 100% of the tuition fee and maintenance support from the start of the academic year (September).


Creating a part-time undergraduate course

This chapter will tell you how to create a part-time undergraduate course.

It covers everything you will need to know before you start adding these courses to CMS, including:

  • eligibility
  • academic year and course duration
  • term dates and holidays
  • qualifications
  • course credits and intensity

Eligibility

To qualify for part-time fee and maintenance support, the student must undertake a designated part-time course. They must also be studying at a course intensity of at least 25% to get a Maintenance Loan or a Tuition Fee Loan.

A designated part-time course must be:

  • at least the duration of one academic year
  • ordinarily possible to complete in no more than 4 times the period it would take to complete the full-time equivalent where the course begins on or after 1 September 2012

You can find more detailed information on course eligibility in the guidance chapters on the SFE practitioners’ website.

Academic years

The regulations define the academic year as a 12-month period beginning on either 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July. The date depends on when the course started.

This means that the maximum funding we can award to a student starting in September or October, for example, covers the academic year from 1 September until 31 August the following year. This applies to Tuition Fee Loans, Maintenance Grants and loans for living costs.

If a course runs beyond the end of the academic year, students will not be funded for the period between the end of the academic year and the end of the last term.

Date course started

Academic year

Between 1 August and 31 December

1 September to 31 August

Between 1 January and 31 March

1 January to 31 December

Between 1 April and 30 June

1 April to 31 March

Between 1 July and 31 July

1 July to 30 June

 

Term dates

Term dates let us determine when and how much to pay your students. This depends on how long they are studying with you that year.

It is very important that the number of teaching weeks you enter on CMS is accurate. Teaching weeks are weeks when your students are attending lectures, doing course work or taking exams.

Term start dates

Your term dates should be linked to the season your course begins.

There are restrictions to how early a term can begin. This is to make sure students’ payments are spread out throughout the academic year.

 

Academic year start: Autumn (August to December)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 August

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 April

 

Academic year start: Winter (January to March)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 April

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 July

 

Academic year start: Spring (April to June)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 April

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 July

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 January

 

Academic year start: Summer (July)

Term 1 start no earlier than 1 July

Term 2 start no earlier than 1 January

Term 3 start no earlier than 1 April

 

The only exception to this rule is the final course year, where you can compress term dates into the remaining period of attendance.

If a bank holiday falls at the beginning of April, the term 3 start date should be no earlier than 3 April. Our system schedules payments before the bank holiday, which means even if a term 3 start date falls on 1 or 2 April, the payments will need to be processed in March.

You should not set the term start and end dates for a Saturday or Sunday when the course does not start or end on either of those days.


Course duration

It is important that you submit an accurate course duration as this affects the funding entitlement of your students.

For part-time undergraduate courses you should enter the 'full-time equivalent' (FTE) duration of the part-time course you are submitting. You should not enter the duration of the part-time course itself.

If you do not have a full-time version of the course, you should enter the duration that the full-time course would be, if there were one. For example, a degree is ordinarily completed within 3 years when studied full time. Therefore, where you have a part-time degree course but no full-time version, you should add your part-time course as 3 years FTE.

When you enter a part-time undergraduate course, you can choose a duration of either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 years full-time equivalent:

  • part-time courses with a duration of 1 year FTE – can be studied up to 4 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 2 years FTE – can be studied up to 8 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 3 years FTE – can be studied up to 12 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 4 years FTE – can be studied up to 16 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 5 years FTE – can be studied up to 16 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 6 years FTE – can be studied up to 16 years

It is your responsibility to ensure your students are aware of the actual duration of the part-time course they will be attending.


Common durations of full-time courses

Ordinary full-time duration – 1 year:

  • Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Honours degree (1-year top-up)
  • Honours degree (1-year intercalation)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

Ordinary full-time duration – 2 years:

  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • Foundation degree
  • Honours degree (2-year top-up)
  • Honours degree (condensed)

Ordinary full-time duration – 3 years:

  • Ordinary degree
  • Honours degree (full course)

Ordinary full-time duration – 4 years:

  • Honours degree (with integral foundation year)
  • Honours degree (with integral placement year)
  • Honours degree (with study abroad year)
  • Integrated master’s degree

Ordinary full-time duration – 5 years:

  • Honours degree (with integral foundation year and integral placement year)
  • Honours degree (with integral foundation year and study abroad year)

Scenarios for deciding part-time course duration

Scenario 1

BA degree studied part-time over 6 years with the full-time version of the course completed in 3 years.

You should add this course to CMS with a duration of 3 years full-time equivalent.

 

Scenario 2

Integrated master’s studied part-time over 6 years with the full-time version of the course completed in 4 years.

You should add this course to CMS with a duration of 4 years full-time equivalent.

 

Scenario 3

HND studied part-time over 4 years with no full-time version.

The normal length that it takes to complete a full-time HND is 2 years. Therefore, you should add this course to CMS with a duration of 2 years full-time equivalent.


Scenario 4

BA (hons) degree studied part-time over 7 years with no full-time version.

The normal length that it takes to complete a full-time BA (hons) degree is 3 years. Therefore, you should add this course to CMS with a duration of 3 years full-time equivalent.


Fixed durations

If you offer part-time courses with a fixed duration (for example a 15-month or 18-month course), you should add these to CMS with a 1 year FTE duration.

This will ensure your students receive the correct level of funding.

Do not split out these courses (for example, one course for year 1 and another course for year 2).


Freshers and exam weeks

Freshers weeks

We do not count Freshers weeks as weeks of teaching.

You should not include these in term dates unless your students are attending lectures, doing course work or taking exams.

If you want this week to be marked as the start of term for funding, then you must remove a week from your term length.


Exam weeks

You should include exam periods in your term dates, as they count within your overall teaching weeks. However, do not include periods where students are waiting for their results.


Holiday periods

You should account for holiday periods when entering term dates. Do not include them within any term.

For example, if a student started their course in October, we would expect the term dates to exclude the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.

In CMS we only need the start date and end date of each term. You should remove a week from your term length if you have a midterm holiday.


Semesters or terms?

Many universities and colleges operate on 2 semesters, rather than 3 separate terms.

We pay students at 3 points throughout their academic year, so we still need to maintain the 3 terms in our systems.

If you use semesters, you should create term dates that reflect your students’ study pattern as closely as possible. You could use any holiday periods in the second semester as a natural break for your terms.


Course credits and intensity

For part-time courses, we need you to enter the number of credits students will achieve when they complete the entire course. This will let us accurately assess their eligibility for Part-time Maintenance Loan (PTML) funding.

You should not enter the number of credits students get in an individual academic year.

Common full course credits

The below table gives examples of the most common credits achieved for an entire course. These are based on the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ). This is the credit system that we expect you to use on CMS.

Under FHEQ a year of full-time study generally equates to 120 credits. This is not always the case and the information you submit must be correct for the individual course as we will use it to assess the students' eligibility and entitlement.

 

Ordinary full-time duration (years)

Course qualification

Expected credits (based on FHEQ)

1

Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)

120

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Honours degree (1-year top-up)

Honours degree (1-year intercalation)

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

60

2

Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

240

Higher National Diploma (HND)

Foundation degree

Honours degree (2-year top-up)

Honours degree (condensed)

360

3

Ordinary degree

300-360

Honours degree (full course)

360

4

Honours degree (with integral foundation year)

480

Honours degree (with integral placement year)

Honours degree (with abroad year)

Integrated master’s degree

480

5

Honours degree (with integral foundation year and integral placement year)

600

Honours degree (with integral foundation year and study abroad year)

 

We appreciate that integral foundation, study abroad and work placement years do not traditionally have a credit value attached as is not a requirement to receive the honours degree (under FHEQ). However, we need one to accurately assess the student’s support entitlement.

Whilst we have used a nominal amount of 120 credits in the table above, the non-standard year should reflect the same credits as a standard year of the course.

Example

Where the honours degree is 390 credits over 3 years, we would expect that a 4-year version including a non-standard year (foundation, study abroad or work placement) would be 520 credits (390 + 1 year at 130 credits).

Validation in CMS will not let you save a course with a credit value of less than 20 or greater than 600.


Course intensity calculation for a Part-time Maintenance Loan

Students must be studying at a course intensity of at least 25% to qualify for a Maintenance Loan.

They will need to know the number of credits they will gain in the academic year when they apply. We use this to calculate their course intensity which then determines their entitlement.

The information on this page explains how we calculate it. It also explains how both the course duration and credit affect the end result.


How we calculate course intensity

Full-time equivalent (FTE) course credits divided by the number of FTE course years = full-time credit (for the year)

The number of credits the student will gain in this academic year = part-time credit (for the year)

(Part-time credit / full-time credit) X 100 = intensity of study (%)


Calculation scenarios

Scenario 1

Ryan is studying a part-time honours degree with an FTE duration of 3 years. The entire course gives 360 credits. In this academic year he will gain 80 credits. Ryan’s course intensity is calculated at:

360 / 3 = 120

80 / 120 x 100 = 67%

 

Scenario 2

Beth is studying a part-time HND with an FTE duration of 2 years. The entire course gives 240 credits. In this academic year Beth will gain 60 credits. Beth’s course intensity is calculated at:

240 / 2 = 120

60 / 120 x 100 = 50%

 

Scenario 3

Jo is studying a part-time bachelor’s degree with an FTE duration of 3 years. The entire course gives 300 credits. In this academic year Jo will gain 40 credits. Jo’s course intensity is calculated at:

300 / 3 = 100

40 / 100 x 100 = 40%


Creating a postgraduate master’s course

This chapter will tell you how to create a postgraduate master's course.

It covers everything you will need to know before you start adding these courses to CMS, including:

  • eligibility
  • academic year and course duration
  • term dates and holidays
  • available course years

It also explains how to handle specific courses:

  • English postgraduate healthcare courses
  • Scottish postgraduate courses 
  • architecture courses

Eligibility

Postgraduate Master’s Loans are only available for postgraduate master’s courses. These can be either taught or research-based and in any subject area.

The course must lead to a master’s qualification, the most common of which are:

  • MSc (Master of Science)
  • MA (Master of Arts)
  • MPhil (Master of Philosophy)
  • MRes (Master of Research)
  • LLM (Master of Law)
  • MLitt (Master of Letters)
  • MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
  • MEd (Master of Education)
  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)

There are many different types of master’s degree, but all such degrees must meet the outcomes identified by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

These are set out in 'The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), 2018' and 'The framework for qualifications of higher education institutions in Scotland 2001'.

When you set up a course with a postgraduate master’s funding level, you will have this list of options in the Qualification dropdown:

  • taught Master’s
  • research Master’s
  • Master of Architecture (postgraduate Student Finance England and Student Finance Wales courses)
  • Postgraduate Certificate (postgraduate Northern Irish courses only)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (postgraduate Scottish and Northern Irish courses)

The following course types are ineligible for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan:

  • undergraduate-funded courses
  • postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) courses
  • Scottish Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Architecture (where Parts 1 and 2 are completed as a single course)
  • English postgraduate healthcare courses
  • integrated master’s courses which will continue to receive undergraduate funding
  • doctoral courses (PhDs)
  • other postgraduate-level courses (such as PGCert and PGDip)
  • postgraduate courses at Republic of Ireland providers (universities and colleges in the Republic of Ireland should not add any postgraduate courses for Northern Irish students)

Intercalated courses

Some undergraduate courses have an intercalating year where the students undertake a master’s degree. In this case, the students will be eligible for postgraduate loans in the intercalating year.

However, this will make them ineligible for any further undergraduate funding.


Academic years

The regulations define the academic year as a 12-month period beginning on either 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July. The date depends on when the course started.

Date course started

Academic year

Between 1 August and 31 December

1 September to 31 August

Between 1 January and 31 March

1 January to 31 December

Between 1 April and 30 June

1 April to 31 March

Between 1 July and 31 July

1 July to 30 June

 

Course duration

The course duration options you can use depend on the type of course and the domicile.

The following sections will cover the course duration options for: 

  • Full-time courses
  • Part-time English courses
  • Part-time Welsh courses

Full-time courses

Full-time postgraduate master’s courses for England and Wales can have a total duration of 1 or 2 years.

When you create a full-time postgraduate master's course for England and Wales, you can select the number of months (12 to 24) from the Duration dropdown.

This image shows the Duration dropdown on the Course Details screen.

Once you have selected the duration and saved the course, both the year and month durations will show. This is because some other systems are still using the year value.

This image shows how the course duration is displayed once it has been saved.

For Northern Irish students, the course duration can be between 1 and 3 years. This is the same for part-time postgraduate courses.

You can find more information on postgraduate courses for Scottish students in the Scottish postgraduate courses chapter.


Part-time English courses

Part-time course durations for English domiciled students remain as they were in academic year 2017/18.

You can set up a part-time postgraduate master’s course for these students with a duration of 1 or 2 years full time equivalent. You can also set it up with 2 or 3 years fixed duration if there is no full-time equivalent course. 

The courses can be studied as follows:

  • part-time courses with a duration of 1 year full time equivalent – will be studied over 2 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 2 years full time equivalent – will be studied over 3 or 4 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 2 years no full time equivalent – will be studied over 2 years
  • part-time courses with a duration of 3 years no full time equivalent – will be studied over 3 years

Part-time Welsh courses, Creating a postgraduate master's course, Creating courses, CMS user guide | HEP Services

As of academic year 2018/19, you can set up part-time postgraduate master’s courses for Welsh domiciled students with a duration of 2, 3 or 4 years.

If a course has a full-time equivalent, you should enter the course duration as the duration of study in academic years, and not the full-time equivalent duration.

You should split your current master’s courses by domicile (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland). For example, if a one-year full-time equivalent course is studied over 2 years, you should enter the course with a 2 year duration:

  • Enter part-time Welsh courses studied over 2 years as 2 years no full time equivalent
  • Enter part-time Welsh courses studied over 3 years as 3 years no full time equivalent
  • Enter part-time Welsh courses studied over 4 years as 4 years no full time equivalent

Since 2018/19 you have the option to select a 4-year duration for Welsh students.


Validation

CMS shows all duration options, but you cannot save a course with a 1 or 2 year full-time equivalent duration designated for Wales.

You will get an error message that you cannot save a course with this duration and Welsh designation.

Likewise, you cannot save a course with 4 years no full-time equivalent duration designated for England.


Term dates

If you offer postgraduate master’s courses, you need to enter 3 sets of term dates for all course years. This is so that students receive their funding payments throughout the period of their study.

The term dates you enter determine the student’s payment dates. If you do not have terms, we still need 3 terms in our system. This is because we pay students at 3 points throughout the academic year. You should create term dates that reflect the study pattern of your students. For example, you could use any holiday periods as a natural term break.

If the final course year is shorter than the rest of the course years, your term dates  should reflect that. For example, if the course duration is 15 months, the second year would be 3 months long. The last year of study still needs 3 terms regardless of the length. In this example, the 3 term dates for year 2 could be each of the 3 remaining months.

You can find further examples in the Term date scenarios section under this chapter.

You should not set the term start and end dates for a Saturday or Sunday when the course does not start or end on those days.

Term date scenarios

Scenario 1

For a 3-year part-time course, the term dates may look like this:

Year 1

Term 1: 27 August to 21 December
Term 2: 14 January to 19 April
Term 3: 7 May to 20 July

Year 2

Term 1: 27 August to 21 December
Term 2: 14 January to 19 April
Term 3: 7 May to 20 July

Year 3

Term 1: 27 August to 21 December
Term 2: 14 January to 19 April
Term 3: 7 May to 20 July


Scenario 2

For an 18-month full-time course, the term dates may look like this:

Year 1

Term 1: 27 August to 21 December
Term 2: 14 January to 19 April
Term 3: 7 May to 20 July

Year 2

Term 1: 27 August to 25 October
Term 2: 28 October to 21 December
Term 3: 13 January to 21 February


Adding intakes

When you create a new course and enter term dates for all years of the course, there is an option to add another intake.

So, if the course you are creating has a September start, you can enter a separate intake for the same course which starts later in the academic year (for instance in January).

You cannot add an intake once you have saved a course, so you should add all intakes before you save.

You can create up to 12 intakes under a postgraduate master’s course – only one per month.

If you need to, you can amend the first intake month when you save the course in the new academic year. For example, if your course had a September intake in the previous academic year, you can change this to October in the new academic year.


Available course years

You can apply Available course years to all full-time and part-time postgraduate courses. The 2 settings are:

  • all students
  • no students

Due to the apply once nature of postgraduate applications, you should set your courses to No Students instead of closing them. This ensures continuing students still receive their funding. You can transfer students on or off the courses if you need to. When a course is closed, continuing students will not receive their funding in the following years of their course.

English postgraduate healthcare courses

From AY 2018/19 the Department of Health does not fund tuition fees through Health Education England or bursaries through NHS BSA to new students studying postgraduate healthcare courses in England.

Instead, English domiciled students new to a postgraduate healthcare course from AY 2018/19 will be eligible for the standard undergraduate package of support.

To be eligible for this, postgraduate healthcare courses must meet the following criteria:

  • a designated pre-registration course in allied health profession subjects, nursing or midwifery (see list of courses below)
  • a level 7 postgraduate master’s or postgraduate diploma
  • full-time
  • not distance learning
  • at least 2 academic years

Eligible courses are those leading to professional registration in:

  • chiropody
  • dental hygiene
  • dental therapy
  • dietetics and nutrition
  • nursing – diplomas and degrees (including courses to convert from second to first level registration)
  • midwifery – diplomas and degrees
  • occupational therapy
  • operating department practice – diplomas and degrees
  • orthoptics
  • physiotherapy
  • podiatry
  • prosthetics and orthotics
  • radiography
  • radiotherapy
  • speech and language therapy

From AY 2018/19 you should enter an undergraduate course for English students, allowing them to access the undergraduate package.

Set the qualification on the undergraduate courses to Postgraduate Healthcare. Once you select this qualification, you can only check the English domicile in the Designation section. This ensures that only English domiciled students can select these courses. They will not be available to Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish students.

You should fill all other fields as normal for these undergraduate courses.

For Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish domiciled students, you should a enter a postgraduate course. Do this as you normally would and select the relevant qualifications. This will give the students access to the appropriate postgraduate loan.

Architecture courses

English students

The 2 parts of an architecture course may be treated as a single course for student support purposes. They may thus receive the undergraduate level of funding.

This is unaffected if a student undertakes a year’s practical experience between the 2 parts. The 2 parts can still be treated as a single course even if a student takes a break of more than 1 year between them, as long as it is clear that the student did not withdraw from the overall course at the end of part 1.

For example, a student completes part 1 and a year of practical experience, then decides to take a year out before starting part 2. They can still be treated as attending the same single course if the facts of their case do not show that they withdrew from the course at the end of part 1.

The regulations mean that students do not need to declare their intention to attend both parts before starting or completing part 1.

For the course to be treated as a single course the student must:

  • not withdraw between parts 1 and 2
  • not change mode of study
  • not have an excessive gap between completing the 2 parts

If a student applies for support for part 2 of the architecture course without a part 1 course, we cannot treat it as part of a single course. In this case, the student will not qualify for undergraduate support. They could apply for postgraduate master's support if the course meets the designation criteria.

The single course provision only applies to full-time courses. Students who have switched mode of study or are studying both courses part-time will not qualify for undergraduate support for part 2. They could be eligible for postgraduate master's support if the course meets the designation criteria.

Welsh students

The same rules apply to Welsh students as English students with the following exceptions.

From AY 2018/19 the Welsh Government changed the single course provision to include full-time and part-time courses. Students who are taking both courses, full-time or part-time, can qualify for undergraduate support for part 2 of the course.

In this scenario for AY 2018/19, the student will need to be a 2018 cohort student for both part 1 and part 2.

Undergraduate courses

There are 2 parts of an architecture course that are treated as one single course for student support purposes.

You should add these courses to CMS through the undergraduate route. For more information on adding undergraduate courses please see the chapters about creating a full-time undergraduate course and creating a part-time undergraduate course.

Postgraduate courses

Students applying for Part 2 courses should apply for postgraduate funding when:

  • the gap between the part 1 and part 2 course is longer than 3 years
  • the student has withdrawn from their study before beginning the part 2 course
  • the student is undertaking the part 2 course on a part-time basis (England only)
  • the student has changed mode of study
  • the course does not lead to qualification as an architect

You should add these courses on CMS through the postgraduate route, choosing the Master of Architecture qualification. We will assess the student’s application and decide if this is the correct funding level for them.

Scottish postgraduate courses

From AY 2020/21 you can add postgraduate courses for Scottish students as a postgraduate course rather than an undergraduate course.

You can do this in the same way you would add your other postgraduate courses.

  1. Select Add a Course.

  2. Choose the correct Study mode. Only Scottish providers can select part-time study mode.

  3. Select Postgraduate funding level.

  4. Select Scotland from the domicile options.

    This image shows the Add a Course screen with the Postgraduate and Scotland options selected.

  5. Select Continue. You can now enter the remaining course details.

For qualifications, you will have 3 options in the dropdown menu: Postgraduate Diploma, Research Master’s and Taught Master’s.

This image shows the qualification menu for Scottish postgraduate courses.

Once you select the qualification, the relevant duration options will become available: 

  • postgraduate diploma: 1 year full-time and 2 or 3 years part-time
  • master’s (research and taught): 1 or 2 years full-time and 2, 3 or 4 years part-time

For the course fee, you should enter the full amount. If your course is more than one year in duration, split your fees equally across all years of the course.

You should complete all other fields as normal.

Creating a postgraduate doctoral course

This chapter will tell you how to create a postgraduate doctoral course.

It covers everything you will need to know before you start adding these courses to CMS, including:

  • eligibility
  • academic year and course duration
  • term dates and holidays
  • course names
  • qualifications

Eligibility

In AY 2018/19 postgraduate doctoral funding was introduced for English and Welsh domiciled students on eligible courses in England or Wales.

Students must be undertaking a full doctoral degree course (a full programme of doctoral study) to be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. Partial courses, where students can rely on previous study to contribute to their doctoral course, are ineligible. 

Students who register for a standalone master's course are also not eligible. They should apply for postgraduate master’s funding instead.

If a student is enrolled on a master’s course, but this course contributes towards a doctoral qualification, you should enter this as a single course. These students are eligible for the full programme of study including the period spent on the master’s course. They will not be eligible for postgraduate master’s funding at the same time.

Some students do not need to complete the first year of a '1+3' doctoral degree course or an integrated subject specialist doctorate. This can be due to prior attainment or time spent on a previous Level 7 research master’s (such as an MPhil or an MRes).

You must register these students on a separately designated doctoral degree course so they are eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. They must be undertaking the full designated course to be eligible.

Eligible courses

Subject specialist doctorates

A formal programme of study such as a PhD.


Integrated subject specialist doctorates

A supervised research project undertaken alongside a more structured taught course. It may depend on successful completion of taught elements and be undertaken in later years.

Integrated doctorates offer exit awards at master’s level based on successful completion of taught modules. If an integrated doctorate has a Level 7 master’s component, you should include this as part of the course duration for the doctoral course and not as a separate master’s course.

To be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, students must register for the doctoral degree from the start.


Professional and practice-based doctorates

Post-experience qualifications aimed at mid-career professionals, for example an Engineering Doctorate (EngD).


Ineligible courses

Doctorates by publication:

  • doctorate by retrospective publication
  • doctorate by prospective or concurrent publication

Higher doctorates


Qualifications

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan will be available for full postgraduate doctoral degree courses only. Eligible doctoral courses may be a combination of:

  • taught and research-based study
  • part-time and full-time study
  • periods of attendance and distance learning

It is not available for other Level 8 qualifications:

  • Level 8 awards
  • Level 8 certificates
  • Level 8 diplomas

It is also not available for lower level postgraduate courses:

  • standalone master’s degree
  • integrated master’s degree (a master’s degree that is integrated with an undergraduate degree)
  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)

Finally, it is not available for partial doctoral courses. These are where the student is topping up to a doctoral qualification and does not need to undertake the whole designated doctoral course.


Course structure

Some doctoral degrees are structured around a '1+3' model. If this is the case, the following rules apply.

The student will be eligible for the £27,265 Postgraduate Doctoral Loan as long as: 

  • year 1 of the course (the master’s degree) is an integral part of the 4-year doctoral degree course
  • the student registers for the full doctoral degree course at the outset.

The student is not eligible for postgraduate master’s funding for the first year of the course.

If a student has already been awarded postgraduate master’s funding for a separate master’s course, they remain eligible for the full £27,265 Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to undertake a full '1+3' doctoral degree course.

Students who do not need to complete the first year of a '1+3' doctoral degree course must instead register on a separately designated 3-year doctoral degree course to be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.

Students who withdraw from a '1+3' doctoral degree after using their Postgraduate Doctoral Loan allocation cannot apply for another. This is regardless of the qualification they gain. This is subject to normal compelling personal reasons (CPR) rules.

For postgraduate funding purposes, a student cannot transfer between master’s and doctoral courses without submitting a new funding application. They must be undertaking the full course to be eligible for postgraduate funding in either case (master’s or doctoral). They must submit a new funding application if they start a new qualification.


Subject of study

There are no subject restrictions on doctoral degree courses. Any course, regardless of subject, can be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if it meets all other eligibility criteria.


Attendance method

Students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan whether they are in attendance or distance learning.

If the course is a distance learning course, the student must be resident in England or Wales on the first day of the first academic year of the course. This rule applies to all residency categories.

There is an exception to this rule for:

  • UK Armed Forces personnel who are posted outside of their place of domicile
  • certain family members who are living with them during the posting

For student funding purposes these applicants are temporarily resident at the posting address. They will be ordinarily resident in the place where they lived before moving to the posting location.

Where the course includes a period of overseas study, at least 50% of the study time over the whole course must be within the UK.


Academic years

The regulations define the academic year as a 12-month period beginning on either 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July. The date depends on when the course started.

Date course started

Academic year

Between 1 August and 31 December

1 September to 31 August

Between 1 January and 31 March

1 January to 31 December

Between 1 April and 30 June

1 April to 31 March

Between 1 July and 31 July

1 July to 30 June

 

Course duration

Doctoral degree courses between 3 and 8 academic years are eligible for postgraduate doctoral funding. 

The course length is defined as the maximum period of registration for that course. This is normally linked to mode of study. For example, you might offer a course as 3 academic years full-time or 6 academic years part-time. The maximum registration period ends when the thesis is submitted for examination.

We will schedule payments over the 3 payment periods in every academic year of the course.

There is no 'extra weeks' element to a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. The maximum loan amount available per academic year is fixed, regardless of the number of weeks of study in each year.

Thesis submission after course end date

If a student intends to submit their thesis after their course end date, you will need to transfer them to a longer course.

The course you should transfer them to must begin in the same academic year as their current course. 

Example

A student is on a 4 year course beginning in September of AY 2020/21. Their thesis is due on 31 April 2024.

The student wants to submit their thesis on 1 May 2025. This is after their course end date.

You need to transfer the student onto a course that has started in September of AY 2020/21 but ends after 1 May 2025.

Term dates

If you offer postgraduate doctoral courses, you need to enter 3 sets of term dates for all course years. This is so that students receive their funding payments throughout the period of their study.

The term dates you enter determine the student’s payment dates. If you do not have terms, we still need 3 terms in our system. This is because we pay students at 3 points throughout the academic year. You should create term dates that reflect the study pattern of your students. For example, you could use any holiday periods as a natural term break.

You should not set the term start and end dates for a Saturday or Sunday when the course does not start or end on those days.

Adding intakes

When you create a new course and enter term dates for all years of the course, there is an option to add another intake.

So, if the course you are creating has a September start, you can enter a separate intake for the same course which starts later in the academic year (for instance in January).

You cannot add an intake once you have saved a course, so you should add all intakes before you save.

You can create up to 12 intakes under a postgraduate doctoral course – only one per month.

If you need to, you can amend the first intake month when you save the course in the new academic year. For example, if your course had a September intake in the previous academic year, you can change this to October in the new academic year.


Available course years

You can apply Available course years to all full-time and part-time postgraduate courses. The 2 settings are:

  • All Students
  • No Students

Due to the apply once nature of postgraduate applications, you should set your courses to No Students instead of closing them. This ensures continuing students still receive their funding. You can transfer students on or off the courses if you need to. When a course is closed, continuing students will not receive their funding in the following years of their course.

Course name

For postgraduate doctoral courses, the course name should include a unique identifier. This can be the subject or faculty, for example, civil engineering. The name should not be a generic doctoral course or the title of a student’s thesis.

Eligible higher education providers

The following sections will give you an overview of the types of higher education providers whose courses are eligible for doctoral funding from Student Finance England and Student Finance Wales.

They will also cover the rules around franchise and validation agreements. 

English students

Postgraduate doctoral funding will only be available from Student Finance England (SFE) for courses provided by UK higher education providers that are either

  • registered with the Office for Students (OfS) and have research degree awarding powers (R-DAPs)
  • are authority funded and have R-DAPs

Only providers with R-DAPs can award doctoral degrees. Those with only taught degree awarding powers cannot award doctoral degrees.


Validation arrangements

If an OfS-registered or authority funded provider does not have R-DAPs (organisation A), they may enter a validation arrangement with an OfS-registered or authority funded provider that does have R-DAPs (organisation B).

In this case, provider B approves a programme of study offered by provider A that contributes to the award of a doctoral qualification from provider B.

In validation arrangements, the degree-awarding body (provider B) is ultimately responsible for the academic standards of any awards granted in its name. It is also responsible for the quality of the learning programme.


Franchise arrangements

OfS-registered or authority funded providers with R-DAPs may enter into arrangements with third parties, that are not registered with OfS, to deliver a course on the behalf of the lead provider. 

The franchisee may deliver all or part of a programme approved and owned by the provider with R-DAPs. The franchising organisation (the provider with R-DAPs) keeps overall control of the programme's content, delivery, assessment and quality assurance.

If the course is provided by more than one university, the student must be registered with the university that is awarding the qualification.


Welsh students

Postgraduate doctoral funding will only be available from Student Finance Wales for courses that are automatically designated within the postgraduate doctoral regulations. They must also be provided by UK higher education providers that are either:

  • publicly funded with research degree awarding powers (R-DAPs)
  • registered with the Office for Students (OfS) with an Access and Participation Plan with R-DAPs

Only universities or colleges that have been granted R-DAPs can award doctoral degrees. Those with only taught degree awarding powers cannot award doctoral degrees.

The Welsh Ministers may specifically designate courses at publicly funded or OfS-registered providers that do not have R-DAPs and offer postgraduate doctoral courses. The Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) will tell us about any specifically designated courses.


Validation arrangements

If a publicly funded or OfS-registered provider with an Access and Participation Plan does not have R-DAPs (provider A), they may enter a validation arrangement with a publicly funded or OfS-registered provider that does have R-DAPs (provider B).

In such an arrangement, provider B approves a programme of study offered by provider A that contributes to the award of a doctoral qualification from provider B.

In validation arrangements, the degree-awarding body (provider B) is ultimately responsible for the academic standards of any awards granted in its name. It is also responsible for the quality of the learning programme.


Franchise arrangements

Publicly funded or OfS-registered providers with an Access and Participation Plan that have RDAPs may enter into franchise arrangements with other publicly funded or OfS-registered providers that do not have RDAPs.

In these arrangements, the franchisee may deliver all or part of a programme approved and owned by the provider with R-DAPs. The franchising institution (the provider with R-DAPs) keeps overall control of the programme's content, delivery, assessment and quality assurance.

The Welsh Ministers may also specifically designate courses at alternative providers that offer postgraduate doctoral courses in Wales. The Welsh Government and HEFCW will tell us about any specifically designated courses at alternative providers based in Wales.

If an alternative provider has R-DAPs, the Welsh Ministers must designate and approve their courses to be eligible for support. These courses are not subject to automatic designation. Alternative providers with R-DAPs should not upload courses for Welsh domiciled students until they have been specifically designated by the Welsh Government and HEFCW.

If the course is provided by more than one university, the student must be registered with the lead institution that is awarding the qualification.


Creating an initial teacher training (ITT) course

Eligibility

Full-time students on initial teacher training (ITT) courses can attract the full-time package of support. Part-time students can attract the Part-time Tuition Fee Loan. If the part-time course is a level 6 or 7, students are also eligible for a Part-time Maintenance Loan.

Courses under the School Direct training programme can be salaried or unsalaried. Only students on the unsalaried route, or those in a voluntary role, are eligible for student finance. As this is a student attribute rather than a course attribute, you do not need to capture this at course level. However, you should tell your students who are receiving a salary not to apply for student finance for these courses.

You can find out more about the eligibility of ITT courses in the 'Assessing eligibility guidance' chapters on the SFE Practitioners website.

 

Adding an initial teacher training (ITT) course

If all students on your School Direct training programme are receiving a salary, you should not add the course to CMS.

If some of your students are salaried and some are in unsalaried or voluntary roles, you should add the course to CMS. Any students receiving a teaching salary should not apply for student finance.

If you are recruiting students who intend to teach in the further education (FE) sector, you should include 'lifelong learning', in brackets, in the course name.

You must select the correct qualification for your course. The available qualifications for ITT courses are:

  • Bachelor’s degree with QTS
  • Bachelor’s degree with honours with QTS
  • Certificate in Education
  • Certificate of Higher Education
  • Diploma in Education and Training
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DET)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate ITT with QTS

From AY 2020/21, there are 3 new qualification options:

  • Certificate in Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education

If you have courses set up with the qualification Postgraduate ITT with QTS, you should use the available course years function to begin phasing out these courses from AY 2020/21. You should also set up a new course to phase in. You should use one of the new qualifications that fits the qualification the students receive at the end of their course.

If you are a School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provider, you do not need to change your Postgraduate ITT with QTS courses, unless one of the new qualifications is a better match for the qualification your students receive.

Adding a course to support DSA applications

To allow students to access DSA support, you should continue to update your DSA course yourself.

You should treat this in the same way as all other courses on CMS: enter the relevant fee, term dates and location information and add the course.

You should also choose the appropriate funding level (undergraduate or postgraduate).

The following example shows the format you should follow when you enter the DSA course.

 

Course details

Name of course: DSA Designated Post Grad

Qualification: Postgraduate ITT with QTS

Duration: 1

UCAS course code: POST

HECOS code: 101274 – General Studies

HEP code: N/A

Location: Main campus

 

The location should be the primary location for your university or college. The course fee should be your provider fee cap. For term dates, enter your most common term dates.

Updating course details for a new academic year

When you select the Courses tab on CMS, the page will always default to the most recent academic year. You can use the academic year tabs to navigate to previous years.

In each new academic year, we will automatically copy your previous year’s course catalogue into the new year. The courses will show as Unsaved and in a worklist format.

You will need to open each course and check that the term dates and course fee are correct.

Once you have checked these details and made any necessary changes, you can save the course for the new academic year.

The course list will show 2 totals:

  • the number of Total Courses
  • the number of Unsaved Courses

Once you save a course, the Unsaved Courses total at the top of the course list will decrease to show the number of unsaved courses remaining.

To make the process easier, you can use the course search to filter on a specific subset of courses. This search will persist so that you can work down a list of filtered courses, saving them individually and then returning to the filtered list without having to enter a filter value again.

You can set preferences to help with term dates when you save courses for the next academic year. User preferences work on a month-to-month match. Let’s say that you roll over a course and its start month matches a start month of a previous course you have saved. The course you are rolling over will be prepopulated with the date, month and year from your previously saved course.

If the start month of the course you are rolling over does not match that of a previously saved course, CMS will prepopulate the months and years based on the course details from the previous year. The date fields will remain blank for you to complete.

If you have a course set up with multiple intakes, some intakes may have the term dates prepopulated if you have already saved a course with the same start month. However, you may need to enter the dates for other intakes if you have not yet saved a course with the same start month as that intake.

Before you save a course, you should always check that the dates, months and years are accurate.

Course fee rates will always default to your provider fee cap. If a specific course year has a placement attribute and you manually enter a placement fee, the system will automatically use the same value in all further courses that have the placement attribute. This placement value will persist until you manually overtype it. From this point onward, the updated placement fee will become the default value for all unsaved courses with a placement attribute.

Editing courses

This section tells you how to edit existing courses on CMS.

Which courses can you edit on CMS?

You can edit a course that is already in CMS. If you need to amend an already saved course, please email our Partners Support Desk with the details as soon as you can.

You should only make course changes when necessary, as we may need to reassess your students and their entitlement may be affected. It is with this in mind that we encourage right first time course submissions.

Editing undergraduate courses

To amend a course, select the Edit button in the Course Details section. You can change:

  • term dates (but only if the change does not affect the first year start month)
  • fee rates
  • placement year
  • course name
  • UCAS code
  • HEP codes
  • intercalated course indicator

You can then either Save or Cancel your changes.

If you make changes to courses that are already saved in CMS, you will see a warning message. This will ask you to tell our Partners Support Desk about these changes before you proceed.

Editing postgraduate courses

England and Wales

You can edit saved Student Finance England (SFE) and Student Finance Wales (SFW) postgraduate master’s and doctoral courses.

To amend a course, select the Edit button in the Course Details section. You can change:

  • term dates (but only if the change does not affect the first year start month)
  • course name
  • qualification (postgraduate master’s only)
  • UCAS code
  • HEP codes

You can then either Save or Cancel your changes.

If you make changes to courses that are already saved in CMS, you will see a warning message. This will ask you to tell our Partners Support Desk about these changes before you proceed.

Northern Ireland and Scotland

You can edit saved Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI) and Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) postgraduate master’s courses.

To amend a course, select the Edit button in the Course Details section. You can change:

  • term dates (but only if the change does not affect the first year start month)
  • course name
  • qualification (Northern Irish courses only)
  • UCAS code
  • HEP codes
  • course fee

You can then either Save or Cancel your changes.

Closing a course

If you want to close one of your saved courses, make sure all students have been transferred off the course or have completed study.

Closing a course in CMS will close it for all academic years. When you select Close this course, CMS will check SIS for any active approved applications. CMS will mark the course as pending while the check takes place with SIS. This pending status will show on the actual course and on the Course list page.

If there are no active applications, the system will close the course. If there are active applications, it will automatically reopen the course.

CMS will not complete course closure for an hour to allow application processing to complete. When closed, the course will still appear on your course listing for the current academic year. It will not appear when course submission is available in the following academic year.

Course search and export

This section tells you how to search for and export courses.

Course search and filter

You can search and filter your courses in any way that you choose.

Use the search bar on the course listing screen to filter on any combination of the following details:

  • course name
  • UCAS code
  • HEP code
  • qualification
  • foundation year courses
  • placement year courses
  • full-time or part-time courses
  • unsaved courses
  • postgraduate or undergraduate courses
  • mode of study
  • duration
  • NHS Bursary courses
  • distance learning courses
  • intercalated courses
  • medical and dental courses

Alternatively, you can use the list of searchable elements in the What can I search for link under the search bar. You can select each one to view the results of that search.

Course export

To export course information, go to the Course Listing page on CMS and select Export Courses from the dropdown menu.

You can export a specific academic year or all courses across all academic years.

In addition to active courses, you can also export unsaved courses if you select Unsaved Export from the dropdown menu.

Within the unsaved export file, the academic year shown for each course will be the last academic year in which the course was saved. For example, if you download the AY 2020/21 unsaved course report, the academic year for each unsaved course will be 2019/20.

The export contains all fields at course and academic year level and is in csv file format.

Exceptional arrangements in AY 2020/21

This section covers exceptional arrangements we have put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temporary winter term start courses

Some providers may be experiencing challenges with delivering learning and late exam resits for their standard autumn start courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help you with this, we are offering the option to create a new temporary winter start version of your courses. This will only be available for the 2020/21 academic year.

The temporary winter start version of study will allow for a condensed period of study from January to August 2020/21. In 2021/22, we expect these students to start their academic year in September again.

This option should give you greater flexibility to

  • deal with an increased intake
  • provide sustainable online tuition
  • spread your provision throughout the year to enable any in-person teaching

Updating course information on the Courses Management Service (CMS)

If your course was due to begin in the autumn term but will now be rescheduled to a winter start, you should create a new course on CMS. You can find more information about how to do this in the Creating courses section of this guide.

The course start date should be in the winter term. The end date should be in the summer term – no later than 31 August 2021.

You should not add these students to an existing winter term course. If you do this, you will not be able to change their term start back to autumn.

When you create the new course, you should add ‘Rescheduled’ to the course name. For example, if the course name is ‘Maths and Physics’, you should name it ‘Maths and Physics – Rescheduled’. This will allow us to process the Change of Circumstance notifications (CoCs) to transfer students onto these temporary courses.

As normal, these courses should have 3 terms, running from January 2021 to July or August 2021.

Telling students about the changes

You must tell your students about the change to course dates and the name of their course. You must do this before you submit any CoCs. It is important that students know about the changes before we send them any revised communications.

Telling us about the changes

After you have confirmed changes with your students, you should email the relevant pro forma to us at courses_service_management@slc.co.uk.

This will help us to process the course changes and CoCs. It will also help us to ensure that we make the correct payments to you and your students.

If you would like another copy of the pro forma, please email courses_service_management@slc.co.uk.

Transferring students to the new course

To transfer your students to the new temporary courses, you should submit a standard course transfer CoC.

You can do this on the Student Information Service (SIS) for most students. The exceptions are:

  • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) students
  • Part-time Grant students (excluding new Welsh Part-time Loan and Grant students from AY 2014/15)

You should submit any changes for SAAS students directly to SAAS. For Part-time grant students, you should request a CoC form. You can do this by emailing hep_services@slc.co.uk.

This guidance does not apply to higher education providers in the Republic of Ireland or Scotland.

You can find guidance on submitting course transfers in our Student Information Service (SIS) user guide.

If you have a large number of students moving to a new course, you may find it easier to submit CoCs using the bulk upload function. You can find more information about this in the CoC csv import chapter of the SIS user guide.

2021/22 academic year

You should transfer your students back to the autumn start version of your course for academic year 2021/22. To do this the 2020/21 course must be completed before the 2021/22 course can start. Therefore your temporary winter start course must finish by August 2021.

Registration and attendance

With these changes to the term dates, it is important that you maintain high standards when you submit registration and attendance.

You should only confirm registration and attendance when you have evidence to support the confirmations. You should also wait until the cooling off period has ended before you confirm attendance.

Student maintenance and tuition fee payments

Students entitled to maintenance support will receive 3 instalments for AY 2020/21, one at the start of each of the updated terms. Students now starting in the winter term will not receive the first instalment of their maintenance support until January.

You will receive tuition fee payments in the normal way. You can receive 2 instalments in term 1 (January to March 2021) if you choose to submit term 2 attendance confirmations in term 1. If you do not take up this option, the second tuition fee payment will be available in May 2021. 

You can find out more about tuition fee reprofiling for 2020/21 in the Exceptional arrangements in AY 2020/21 chapter of the SIS user guide.

Students resitting exams

Students resitting their exams may not be able to join a September course start due to a delay in receiving their results. There are several options for these students.

They can join the original course late and continue as normal. Or, if numbers warrant it, you can create a new intake of the course starting later in the autumn term. We would expect cooling off arrangements to apply as normal.

Bursary awards

If you use our Bursary Administration Service (BAS) to pay bursary awards, you should check the award rules you have set up. This will ensure any payments to qualifying students are disbursed at the correct time.