Single Data Return

Raraunga Ākonga Takitahi

Last updated 2 November 2016
Last updated 11/02/2016

This section explains what the Single Data Return (SDR) is, who needs to complete an SDR, and other important information. You’ll also find resources to help you submit SDRs.  

On this page:

What is the SDR?  

Who needs to complete an SDR?

How can I access it?

What information do I need to submit?  

New course/qualification requests  

Completing a trial SDR

Why data accuracy and timeliness is important

What happens if my data is late or inaccurate?

Our Stop Gate process

How to contact the Ministry of Education

Resources to help you submit your SDR

What is the Single Data Return?

The SDR is an electronic database of learner enrolment and completion information required by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Tertiary Education Commission (the TEC).

The data is used for:

  • monitoring performance against your Investment Plan 
  • funding and fund recovery 
  • publishing performance information
  • statistical reporting.

Who needs to complete a SDR?

All tertiary education organisations (TEOs) that receive Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding, Youth Guarantee (YG) funding, and/or have students with student loans or allowances, need to complete a SDR three times a year (see the submission dates).

Completing a SDR is a condition of funding, so it’s crucial that you do so accurately and on time. Late or incomplete submissions can result in delays in your scheduled payments.

How can I access it?

You can access the SDR through the Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website.

You log in through the MoE’s Education Sector Authentication and Authorisation (ESAA) service with an Education Sector Login (ESL).

To find out how to set up access, please email service.desk@education.govt.nz.

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What information do I need to submit?

You’ll find comprehensive guidance on the STEO website, but here is some important information to include:

  1. Details about each of your enrolled students
    If you receive SAC and YG funding, you need to provide information about each of your enrolled students, regardless of the level of study or the type of funding. For more details, please read the SDR manual’s introduction on the STEO website
  2. Workforce questionnaire (Staff return) ─ before you submit your December SDR
    Please upload your workforce questionnaire (or Staff return) to the STEO website before you submit your December SDR. We won't accept your December SDR without a processed workforce questionnaire.
  3. Up-to-date delivery site information
    Please check that your delivery site information on the STEO website is up to date. (See the Overview of TEC STEO and how to complete your SDR for how to do this.) We rely on your delivery site information to analyse regional funding and provision. If you need to submit a delivery site update request, please do so early so we can process it in time for your final SDR submission.
  4. Forecasts
    If you are delivering SAC EFTS (equivalent full-time student) at level 3 and above with a source of funding code of ‘01’ you need to provide an EFTS forecast with each round. The forecast should not include SAC-funded provision for levels 1 and 2 (competitive or non-competitive allocated) or Youth Guarantee.
  5. Correct funding codes
    Before submitting your SDR, please check that you have used the correct funding codes (you will find these in the SDR Manual). If the wrong codes are used, you may need to resubmit your SDR. If you have any questions about the codes, please refer to the SDR Manual or contact the Sector Helpdesk.

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New course/qualification requests

You can change the credits, fees, levels, or classifications of your courses and qualifications, at any time. You don’t need to wait until just before your SDR is due. But it’s important to submit the change request through the STEO website before you submit a trial SDR.

If you want to make multiple changes to courses (as a result of changing the disaggregation approach for a qualification), you need to do this before the courses start each year (as soon as possible after the December SDR). We don’t approve in-year change requests resulting from substantial disaggregation.

Completing a trial SDR

To allow time to correct any errors in your data, it’s important you leave yourself time to complete a trial SDR before submitting your final SDR. For help completing a SDR, please refer to the user guide on the STEO website.

Why data accuracy and timeliness is important

We use data from every SDR to plan our ongoing investment in tertiary education. This means if you submit your data late or with errors, or you resubmit it with changes, this can have flow-on effects for us and for other TEOs.

To manage this, we don’t accept resubmissions of August or December SDRs unless we have approved the resubmission (which we will do only in exceptional circumstances).

We will accept resubmissions of the April SDR during a set period (which we will let you know about each year) to allow you to review your educational performance indicator (EPI) data. Outside this set period, we will only accept resubmissions of the April SDR in exceptional circumstances.

We will treat all resubmissions outside published timeframes as late.

‘Exceptional circumstances’ are circumstances that are genuinely unforeseeable and which you could not have proactively managed. These are examples of circumstances that we are unlikely to consider exceptional circumstances.

  • Data issues identified during or after the sale and purchase of a TEO. If your organisation is purchasing a TEO, it needs to be confident that the TEO’s historical SDR data is accurate.
  • Student Management System software errors. You should submit trial SDRs early to identify and address any issues well in advance of the final submission deadline.
  • A change of Student Management System (SMS) resulting in errors. If your organisation is changing its SMS, it needs to be confident of doing so without the risk of error.
  • Errors made by a staff member which were only identified at a later stage. Your organisation is responsible for ensuring that your staff members submit accurate data. 
  • You have not checked your organisation’s EPI data from the April SDR in time. You are responsible for reading and responding to our announcements about when data is available for you to review.

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What happens if my data is late or inaccurate?

If you don’t provide a timely and accurate SDR, your current or future funding may be affected.

If you continue to submit inaccurate, incomplete or late data, we may introduce an extra monitoring process. For example, you could be asked to use an external auditor to confirm that your data is valid and accurate before you submit each SDR.

Our Stop Gate process

Our Stop Gate helps us manage late submissions and resubmissions of a full set of files. This means you need to submit a full set of SDR files by the due date for each round.

We will decide whether or not to approve a submission outside of the SDR round on a case-by-case basis. You can also resubmit your data if we find an error after submission, with our permission.

The process is as follows:

  • contact our Sector helpdesk to request a resubmission
  • submit a resubmission request form
    • if your request is approved, you’ll have five days to resubmit your SDR files
    • if your request is not approved, the data in your latest full SDR submission will remain unchanged
    • if you want to only update your course and/or qualification completions, you can resubmit completion files on their own.

This does not affect the SDR validation, processing and submission process. You can still submit course register, course and qualification completion files at any time, and we encourage you to do so, particularly after the December round so we can confirm your EPIs as early as possible. 


How to contact MoE

If you need help logging on to the STEO website or you want to access course, qualification and student files, please email service.desk@education.govt.nz or phone 0800 422 599.

Resources to help you submit your SDR

  • For guidelines on the submissions process, visit the STEO website
  • For a helpful guide to SDR, see our SDR Quick Reference Guide (Word, 736 Kb)
  • For an SDR overview, read the 2015 SDR Roadshow presentation or Q & As:

SDR roadshows PowerPoint presentation (PPT, 2 Mb)

SDR roadshows Questions and Answers (PDF, 126 Kb)

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