Learning provider FAQ

What is the Learning Provider Portal?

The Learning Provider Portal is the online service you can access through our LP Services website. You can use it to:

  • view details of learner applications
  • confirm the ongoing attendance of learners to release their loan payments
  • submit Change of Circumstance notifications (CoCs)
  • view financial reports
  • bulk import information, such as attendance confirmations and CoCs
  • export data to use in your own internal systems

When and how will I get access to the portal?

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) needs to confirm that you are an approved provider with a loans facility. Once we have this confirmation, we will contact you and give you access to the portal.

We will ask you to confirm your primary and secondary business contacts. We will give these contacts user administration access. You will then have visibility of your learners’ application information.

What are the different levels of portal access?

We will give your primary and secondary business contacts user administration access. They can then decide what level of access your other portal users need.

There are separate user roles for those who need:

  • read-only access to view information on the system
  • access to administration functions such as confirming attendance, submitting CoCs and viewing financial reports

A user can have any combination and any number of roles. Please see the Learning Provider Portal user guide for more information about user roles.

What information will I see for each learner on the portal?

You will see application data for approved applications, as well as those that have not been approved yet. You will also see:

  • the learning aim fee
  • the amount of loan the learner has requested
  • the learner's loan entitlement
  • the balance to pay

You can update fields, including:

  • Unique Learner Numbers (ULNs)
  • Additional Learner Reference Numbers
  • course trainer codes
  • course location codes

You will be able to see any further applications when the learners submit them. You can view all information on the portal or export it for your own data management purposes.

What is a Customer Reference Number and what is it used for?

We assign each learner a Customer Reference Number (CRN) when they make an application. The learner will use this to identify themselves when they contact us. CRNs are on the portal for information only. You do not need to do anything with them.

What do I need to do to receive loan payments?

Once we have approved a learner's loan application and they have started their study, you must confirm this to us to start receiving payments. You can only do this once the learner has been in attendance for at least 2 weeks. This will be either:

  • 2 weeks from the learning aim start date
  • 2 weeks after the learner has started study (if they start at a later date)

This is called the initial liability point.

After this, you will need to confirm attendance on a quarterly basis so that we can continue releasing payments. Attendance is assumed in the months between quarterly confirmations. You must tell us if a learner withdraws or takes a break in learning.

When can we move a learner's start date?

Sometimes a learner is not in attendance on their planned start date. If this happens, you should use your current procedures to decide if you need to move their start to a later date than that on their application.

If you move the start date, you will need to submit a CoC to let us know. Once you have submitted the change, the system will create a new liability point. The learner will reappear on your attendance confirmation worklist on that date.

Depending on what you change the start date to, we may also reschedule the payments.

You cannot move a learner's start date after you have confirmed their attendance.

How do I know who needs an attendance confirmation?

When you sign into the portal, you will see a worklist of learners whose attendance you need to confirm. You will not need to search for them.

When and how will you pay us?

We will make loan payments to you against a flat monthly profile. This is based on the initial liability point and the learning aim end date. For example, if a learner takes out a loan of £900 for a learning aim they will study over 9 months, you will get 9 separate monthly payments of £100 each.

We will make payments on the third Wednesday of each month. We can only make payments within a maximum period for each type of learning aim.

To ensure we can make the monthly payment, you must submit an attendance confirmation by close of business on the Thursday before the payment date. If you do not confirm the learner’s attendance in time for this, we will make the payment the following month.

What are the maximum periods for each learning aim type?

There is a limit to the period over which we can pay a loan. Learners can still study longer, but we can only pay within these periods. The periods depend on the type of learning aim:

  • A levels – up to 2 years
  • QAA Access to HE Diploma – up to 2 years
  • Level 3 Certificate – up to 2 years
  • Level 3 Diploma – up to 3 years
  • Level 4 Certificate – up to 2 years
  • Level 4 Diploma – up to 3 years

Do I need to tell you on the portal when a learner’s circumstances change from those on their application?

Yes, because this may affect the learner’s entitlement and liability for the loan.

For example, you must tell us about:

  • changes of learning provider
  • changes of learning aim details
  • changes to loan amounts or fees you are charging
  • cancellations
  • reinstatements
  • withdrawals
  • suspensions or breaks in learning
  • resumption of learning
  • early completion

Is there a limit to the length of a suspension or break in studies a learner can have?

Yes. Learners can only suspend their learning aim for 12 months. It the break is any longer, their loan application will be automatically withdrawn.

We must confirm that a learner is in attendance. What do you mean by 'in attendance'?

You must confirm the learner's initial attendance after the 2-week liability point. After this, you must confirm their ongoing attendance on a fixed quarterly basis. These attendance confirmations will allow us to release payments for the learner.

You should use your own current procedures to determine if a learner is in attendance or not.

What happens if a learner makes an application after starting their study?

Sometimes, a learner may make an application for a loan after starting the learning aim. In this case, you will receive backdated payments for any months that have already passed. We will then space out the rest of the payments to cover the remaining period of study, up to the maximum duration explained above.

For example, let's say that a learner applies for a loan of £1000 during month 4 of a learning aim they expect to complete in 10 months. Once you have confirmed the learner's attendance, we will pay you £400 for the 4 months that have passed. We will then pay you £100 in each of the remaining 6 months of the learning aim.

Can I change our bank account details?

We get your bank account details from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). If you want to change your bank account details, you should tell ESFA. To do this, download a BAN1 Form from GOV.UK, fill it in and email it to dfe.standingdata@education.gov.uk.

Can I use a different bank account to the account my ESFA payments go to?

No, these accounts must be the same.

How do I change our provider or contract manager details on the portal?

If information such as your address or provider name is incorrect on the portal, you should update your details on the UK Register of Learning Providers website. These changes will automatically carry over to ESFA’s systems. ESFA will then send us the updates in a monthly update file on the second Tuesday of each month.

However, the automated system does not pick up contract manager or email address changes. If you change these, you should also send an email to loans.businessops@education.gov.uk and your ESFA Territory Manager. ESFA will then manually pull through these details and send them to us in the monthly update file.