Accessing the National Student Index (NSI)

This page provides information to NSI on the different options for accessing the NSI system.

Tertiary Education Organisations (TEO's) that receive EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Students)-based funding, or that offer qualifications approved for student loans and/or allowances, will have access to the NSI system. This may be either through an interface with their Student Management System (also known as SMS) or through the NSI web application. These TEOs will be able to assign NSNs for their students and update existing NSI records that their students may already have. NZQA also assigns NSNs for students that they interact with who do not currently have an NSN.

There are several different options for accessing the NSI:

These different options are offered so that TEOs 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.

Web Application

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 are effected immediately, with users undertaking NSI processing interactively with the central NSI system.

As 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 TEOs with a small number of students and/or TEOs that have spread out enrolment periods. This interface is also well suited to ad hoc queries or processing. As NSI activity reports will only be able to be viewed via the web site, it is expected that most organisations will make some use of the web application.

The National Student Index Web Application User Guide explains the prerequisites to enable a valid user 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 interface.

REST Interface

(Available from 15th June 2015)

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 allows the maintenance of student records to remain in SMS software, while sending and retrieving data from NSI in the background. This means that systems which use this interface option can expect to send requests and receive responses from the NSI over the Internet, but the direct user interaction will be only with their SMS. In order for this interface to work, the organisation will need to be connected to the Internet, sending information and waiting for a response.

Integration with the REST interface will require custom development.

XML/Soap Interfaces (for existing client base only)

Note, the XML and SOAP interfaces are to be phased out and replaced with the REST interface.

The use of the XML or SOAP interfaces enables Student Management Systems to 'talk' with the NSI over the Internet. From the perspective of a Student Management System user the interfaces are seamless, as the SMS will interface with the NSI 'behind the scenes'. Users perform NSI-based actions interactively, via their SMS. For the XML and SOAP options, SMS software will need to be modified to include calls to the XML/SOAP interface to perform the required functions and to interpret the returned results. Limited SMS screen changes will also be required in the SMS - for example, an 'add/create NSI record' button could be added to the appropriate SMS enrolment screen.

These interface options are appropriate for larger organisations, and are well suited to `real-time' and `in person' enrolments given the direct, live communication between the SMS and the NSI. The XML interface is suitable for Student Management Systems that use a non-Microsoft Windows operating system. Given that the SOAP interface is both platform and operating system independent, it is suitable for organisations that are likely to change the operating system that their SMS runs on.

Batch File Interface

A batch file interface is available to process TEO requests for NSI record searches, additions, updates and merges. As actions are carried out on a Student Management System, batch files will accumulate the requests. 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 that report the outcome of batch file processing. These result files will be available for organisations to download from the NSI web site. Organisations will then need to load the result files into their SMS, with any errors or exceptions being processed manually.

This interface option is best suited to organisations with a large number of students and a `bulk' enrolment period. Organisations that have available Internet bandwidth of less than 56kbs may also prefer to use this interface option.

Guide to Integrating the NSI System (GINs)

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

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