UIP – information on obtaining National Student Numbers

Since lifting the exemption, the Ministry of Education has had a number of queries from English-language provider about the generation of National Student Numbers (NSNs). The content below provides information on NSNs, their purpose, and how to obtain them.

Note: if you have an SMS system, your SMS vendor should be able to help with any queries regarding the generation of National Student Numbers and access to the National Student Index.

What is the National Student Index (NSI)?

The Ministry of Education in collaboration with other government agencies developed a National Student Index (NSI). The NSI is a database maintained by the Ministry of Education. Education providers access it to enter or modify information about their students.

Information from the NSI is reported to the Ministry and NZQA so that policy makers can accurately identify student characteristics and outcomes.

For further information about the NSI, please go to the Ministry of Education's website or the STEO website.

As an education provider you will need to be registered with the Ministry of Education, and will also need an Education Sector Login (ESAA login). If you do not have an SMS system, please contact the Ministry of Education Service Desk to obtain the login. Otherwise please speak to your SMS Vendor.

What are National Student Numbers? Why do we need them?

The National Student Number (NSN) is a unique number given to every student. This is what the education provider will use when searching for, entering or modifying their student information in the NSI.

The NSN assists with tracking student pathways and can be of real value in terms of tailoring marketing strategies to students or countries, and in analysing international student outcomes.

Accessing the National Student Index (NSI)

Tertiary education providers may access the NSI system either through an interface with their Student Management System (also known as SMS) or through the NSI web application.

These options are offered so that providers can select the option(s) best suited to their needs - depending upon student numbers, the nature of enrolment processing and the general nature of student management processes and systems.

Using the NSI Web Application to access the NSI

The NSI web application is available for authorised NSI users to log in and perform any of the NSI functions over the Internet. A valid user ID and password (obtained from the Ministry of Education Service Desk) are required to log in. Actions performed against the NSI database using this interface will be effective immediately.

Education Service Desk:

Email: service.desk@education.govt.nz 

Phone: 0800 422 599

Since the web application is not designed to be integrated with a Student Management System, organisations that decide to use the web application as their sole means of accessing the NSI will need to transfer data between their SMS and the NSI manually. This interface is best suited to providers with a small number of students. This interface is also well suited to ad hoc queries or processing.

The National Student Index Web Application User Guide explains the requirements that a provider must meet to use the web interface of the NSI system. It provides instructions for the web functionality and advice on how to navigate your way through the web application.

Using the REST Interface to access the NSI

The NSI has a new REST interface which enables Student Management Systems to 'talk' with the NSI over the internet. The REST interface allows SMS systems to integrate with NSI data and functionality, over a standardised protocol.

This interface enables the provider to only interact with their SMS and the SMS will send requests and receive responses from the NSI on their behalf. The provider’s SMS must be connected to the internet to be able to send information and wait for a response.

Integration with the REST interface will require custom development of the provider’s SMS. Please contact your SMS vendor for further help.

Using Batch File Interface to access the NSI

A batch file interface enables processing of requests for NSI record searches, additions, updates and merges in batches. The interface will collect the requests to process files that were entered into the Student Management System and send them in batches to the NSI system for processing.

The upload of the batch files for processing by the NSI system can be done manually through the NSI web application or automatically via the interface. Uploaded batch files will be processed at assigned intervals by the NSI system.

Result files will be generated to report the outcome of the process. Providers can download these result files from the NSI web site. Providers will then need to load the result files into their SMS. If there are any errors or exceptions, providers have to process them in the SMS manually.

This interface option is best suited to providers that enrol a large number of students and implement a `bulk' enrolment period. Providers that have available internet bandwidth of less than 56kbs may also prefer to use this interface option.

Guide to Integrating the NSI System (GINs) with your SMS

It is recommended that the choice of NSI interface(s) be made in consultation with your SMS vendor. The interface options are described in depth in the document Guide to Integrating with the NSI System (GINs), which can also be requested through the Ministry of Education Service Desk. They can be contacted by email on service.desk@education.govt.nz.