Program enrollments vs Affiliations and Latest Heda release impact for Orgs using HEDA

If you are using Salesforce and using HEDA or planning to use Heda, Here are some questions we wrestle with.

  1. Why should I use Program Enrollment?
  2. How to use Affiliation vs Program enrollment?
  3. Should I even consider both objects vs just using one of them?  This post will help you make the right decision and make your head spin less!!  😉  I am trying to make my blogs more conversational!! So please bear with me..

What does Affiliation and Program enrollment mean?

I would like to quote Lian Yee article on her definition of the 2 objects which I have quoted below.

When a student enrolls in an Academic Program, two records are created to relate the student Contact to the Academic Program Account: a Program Enrollment and an Affiliation. While both records track the same relationship, they track different details.

  • The Program Enrollment tracks details about the Contact’s registration in the Academic Program. For example, when a student declares English as her major, she enrolls in the the B.A. English Academic Program. The Program Enrollment can track her enrollment dates, status, and other details.
  • The Affiliation tracks the Contact’s connection to the Academic Program Account as one of the potentially many affiliated Accounts. For example, the B.A. English Academic Program could be considered a Primary Affiliation because it’s her major. Other affiliated Accounts might track her connections to the Department of Biology for her minor or to the swim team.

So to keep this simple.

Track all programs of interest, work history of your students in affilations.

Track all enrollment stuff in program enrollment. If you have fields related to banner , people soft and others, put it on program enrollments. Your IT geeks would love this object!! 😛

How to use both objects?

You always want to use both objects when you are using HEDA. Follow the following principle to guide you through it.

  1. Affiliation should have minimal fields like the relationship to the program, department, and status( student, prospect etc).
  2. Program enrollment should have the fields matching your SIS( Banner, People soft, etc) and should have all the fields related to the registration of the student.
  3. So for registered students, you should have records in affiliation and program enrollment.
  4. For prospective students, records should be at the affiliation level.

What if you are not using Program Enrollment now? 😡

No worries. You can always do a one time data migration to program enrollment and please remove the unwanted fields on affilation.  Keep your org clean like Marie Kondo!!! 😉

Heda Upgrade Impact

Prior to Heda release, integration jobs from SIS systems created program enrollment records and had to manually create affiliation and some times ignore them resulting in orphan records. This was a huge problem. To solve this,  the latest 1.70 upgrade, Salesforce has made these 2 objects coupled.

  1. With point and click, Heda will create affiliation records automatically once program enrollment record is created reducing integration work.
  2. Heda will also update affilation roles automatically based on Heda setting.
  3. Start dates and end dates would be populated on affiliation from program enrollment to affiliation based on setting.

Key takeaways for you

  1. If you are planning to use HEDA, always use both objects for a prospective and registered student.
  2. Create validation rules on affiliation to prevent duplicate programs affiliated to the same student which can cause problems.
  3. Keep your SIS fields on the program enrollment object.
  4. Please feel free to click this link to see the latest Heda article on this change.

As always feel free to post your comments below and let me know how you are using both objects. Please feel free to email me at for any further questions.

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Author: buyan47

Hi there! My name is Buyan Thyagarajan. I am a Salesforce consultant specializing in Higher Education, Manufacturing and Marketing Automation. My blogs will help you to maximize your Salesforce CRM investments, prevent problems beforehand and make the right decisions. If you need to talk to me right away, you can email me at or call me at 302-438-4097

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