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Privacy for agencies

Annual Report

Purpose: To verify student enrolment information to confirm entitlement to allowances and loans.

MSD StudyLink's disclosure to educational institutions: When requesting verification of student course enrolments, MSD StudyLink provides the educational institution the student's full name, date of birth, MSD client number and student ID number.

Educational institutions' disclosure to MSD StudyLink: The educational institutions return to MSD StudyLink the student's enrolled name, date of birth, MSD client number, student ID number and study details.

Compliance: Compliant.

Technical information

Information matching provisions Education Act 1989
s.226A - institutions
s.238B - private training establishments
Year authorised 1998 
Year commenced 1998 (Allowances), 1999 (Loans)
Programme type Confirming eligibility
Updating data
Unique identifiers MSD customer number
Student identification numbers
Online transfers Yes

System description
The participants - MSD (StudyLink), tertiary education institutions, and secondary schools (in respect of students aged 18 or older) - know this process as the Verification of Study (VoS). 

Requests are faxed to those institutions which have not developed computer systems to handle the requests, generally because they handle only a low volume of requests. 

The bulk of requests for VoS records are batched for each institution and placed on a stand-alone server at MSD for the relevant institution to download. Institutions with the appropriate systems draw down the batches of requests they have to verify. Match results are sent back to MSD in the same way. This online channel is used by the larger education providers to process the majority of VoS requests. 

MSD Studylink requests verification of student course enrolments and provides the student’s full name, date of birth, MSD client number and student ID number. 

The educational institutions return to MSD Studylink the student’s enrolled name, date of birth, MSD client number, student ID number and study details. 

MSD compares the returned data with its student database. The results of this process inform decisions on granting an allowance or loan. A student is only eligible if he or she is:

  • enrolled in an approved programme of study; or
  •  studying full-time (for loans and allowances) or part-time full-year (for loans) or part-time part-year with 0.3 or more EFTS[1] (for loans).

When three VoS attempts have proved unsuccessful the applicant is notified that as a result of the match the applicant appears not to be eligible. They are also invited to show why their application should not be declined (this is a notice of adverse action, required under section 103 of the Privacy Act). MSD will make up to 12 attempts to request the data from the institution as delays can occur in the institutions.

Recent activity

  2011/12  2012/13  2013/14  2014/15 2015/16
Institutions involved 625 612 638 576 515
Total VoS requests made 976,350 883,293 936,598 932,674 1,006,973
Individual applications involved 227,715 214,690 208,480 204,314 198,661
s.103 notices sent out (loans and allowances) 42,660 38,636 40,395 41,183 39,981
Challenges[2] 135 123 61 62 29
Successful challenges 75 36 21 12 8
Decisions to decline loan/allowance 24,315 21,881 22,147 22,711 22,835

[1] Access to the fees component of the student loan scheme was extended to part-time part-year students from 1 January 2004. EFTS = Equivalent full-time student.
[2] Includes applications for reviews that were subsequently withdrawn, or that are still under consideration at time of reporting.