National Student Number (NSN): for schools

Information for schools on getting and using the National Student Number (NSN).

What is the NSN?

The National Student Number (NSN) is a unique number given to every student. The NSN makes it easier for us to manage and share information about students in a way that protects their privacy.

Getting or accessing the NSN

School and ECE service administrators [OS1] can access NSNs for students in ENROL, the school student enrolment register. Every student’s record includes their NSN.

Other software schools use may also use NSNs, such as the student management system.

Students can request a copy of their NSN through their school, their early childhood education provider, or, for tertiary students, by contacting NZQA on 0800 697 296 (weekdays 8am-5pm) or by email through the NZQA website (external link)

Who can use the NSN

Contractors of suppliers providing services on a school's behalf act as an agent of the school and can use the NSN. 

Parents or students will only need to use the NSN during the NCEA process. The NCEA process uses the NSN as the registration number to link it to students' record of achievement maintained by the NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority).

Students have the right to use or disclose their NSN for any purpose. They can also request a copy of their NSN information and ask for corrections. They can request a copy through their school, their early childhood education provider, or for tertiary students by contacting the NZQA (external link) .

What the NSN is used for

You can use NSNs for:

  • enrolment - schools include NSNs in ENROL, the school student enrolment register, and in their student management system. The NSN has become a data element within the student management system record for each student. The NSN is mandatory in the .moe file for each roll return.
  • checking students’ eligibility for fees-free tertiary education – the quickest way to check someone’s eligibility for free tertiary fees is for them to enter their NSN through the fees-free website (external link)  
  • e-asTTle - an online assessment tool for school students 
  • single data return - tertiary education organisations include NSNs in their data return to the Ministry for statistical and funding purposes
  • roll returns 
  • record of achievement - the New Zealand Qualifications Authority includes NSNs in their records of a student's credits and qualifications.

The NSN is not used for

You cannot use NSNs:

  • for school identity cards
  • as a primary key or index in a student database
  • for most pastoral or health care information 
  • administration of activities not with NCEA or similar educational records (such as sports and extra-curricular activities)
  • administration of school fees, accounts or library use
  • general communication with parents or students.

Concerns with the use of NSN

Students or parents who have concerns about the NSN should contact their school principal or email e.admin@education.govt.nz.

The NSN is authorised under Part 30 of the Education Act 1989. Changes to the Education Act in 2006 authorised the use of NSNs by schools, the Ministry of Education, NZQA and other agencies. Misusing the NSN is an offence. The Act includes a penalty of up to $15,000 for conviction.

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