Supplying data

Working with individualised files

The individualised files are the data files that contain both the raw, student-level data submitted by providers to the designated data body (DDB) or the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and additional data derived by the OfS for our regulatory purposes.

The fields displayed in the individualised files can be used to build key dimensions of outputs provided as part of the data checking tools, post-collection outputs and other processes.

They are intended to:

  • support providers to understand data definitions used in our different regulatory activities
  • support improvements to the quality of data submitted by providers.

Sometimes our outputs make use of linked datasets, to supplement the data submitted by providers. Data protection reasons mean that it is not always possible to include linked data within the individualised files, but we include as much information as possible.

You'll find detailed instructions on how the data in the individualised files is generated in the technical document for each output.

Conditions of use and access to individualised files

The individualised student-level data files we provide contain personal data including, in some instances, special category data. These files are shared under the very strict conditions that access to, and use of, this information is limited to individuals in the provider who already have reason to access individualised student-level data within their normal working responsibilities and must comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. The data must not be shared with anyone outside of the provider unless appropriate data sharing agreements are in place between the provider and any third party.

The OfS only releases information to the head of the provider or the accountable officer. It is the responsibility of that individual to disseminate information about releases of individualised files to others within the provider. This responsibility includes ensuring that the conditions of access and use are disseminated, understood and adhered to. Failure to comply with this requirement may cause the OfS to reconsider the availability of data to a provider in future.

Extracting the outputs from a compressed .zip file

  • Right-click on the file and select ‘Extract all’.
  • Use the ‘Browse’ button to select where to store the outputs. By default this will be the same location as the .zip file.
  • Ensure the option ‘Show extracted files when complete’ is ticked.
  • Click ‘Extract’.
  • A new window will open showing the extracted outputs in the new folder.
  • Individualised files are those ending in ‘IND.csv’. 

Using the individualised file

Cell formatting

Some fields may not be displayed in the correct format. The most common occurrence of this is for long numbers. For example, the number 968001002 might be displayed as 9.64E+08. To obtain the string of numbers as originally returned follow these steps:

  • Highlight the column containing the field you wish to format.
  • Right-click on the highlighted cells and select ‘Format cells…’.
  • Select ‘Number’ as the category and '0' for the number of decimal places.
  • Click ‘OK’.


The individualised files can be used to interrogate the data and our calculation of derived fields by filtering to certain groups of records. Instructions for how to rebuild figures in outputs from individualised files can be found in the technical documentation for specific outputs. 

The same principles apply to modularised files (those ending in ‘MOD.csv’).

Last updated 28 March 2023
28 March 2023
Added information about conditions of use and access to individualised files
20 January 2022
Added link through to 'Approach to linking data' page.

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