Advanced Learner Loan Admin

PEARL simplifies the process of tracking Advanced Learner Loans for learners. Our proprietary software automates finance administration giving you more time to focus on learner progression.

Learner Loan Administration system (LAS)

PEARL contains a fully integrated Advanced Learner Loan Administration System (LAS). The LAS is an automated end-to-end Management Information System (MI) for the administration of Advanced Learner Loans (to include 19+ and 24+ Loans). The LAS can integrate with an organisation’s existing Management Information System or entirely replace it for the administration of Advanced Learner Loans.

Within the LAS, users can administer their entire loan provision using the intuitive "workflow procedure". The "workflow procedure" is underpinned by extremely complex algorithms and failsafes to ensure that users at any level can administer the Advanced Learner Loan process, saving a huge amount of time and administration costs.

The LAS works by importing a series of CSV and XML files, from the Student Loans Company Learning Provider Portal (LPP), and then based on daily workflow operations that happen within LAS and options selected during the "workflow procedure" a series of CSV and XML files are created to then be exported back into the Student Loans Company's LPP.

The system continually cross-references and checks that the workflow procedures have been conducted in the correct order to ensure data integrity and synchronisation occurs between the Management Information System, Student Loans Company Learning Provider Portal and the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), part of the SFA's Audit requirements.

Using the LAS, one PEARL customer is currently administering of its entire Advanced Learner Loan provision (currently around 5,000 learners) in, approximately, 10 minutes per day. The LAS is fully scalable, and increasing numbers will not affect the speed at which the Advanced Learner Loan provision can be administered.

LAS drastically reduces the burdensome amount of time and cost spent administering the Student Loans Company Learning Provider Portal It also enhances the integrity of the data shared between LAS/MI, the ILR (which is auto-generated for submission into the SFA Hub) and the LPP for SFA Audit purposes.

LAS

Functionality

The Learner Loan Administration System provides a fully automated solution for administering the Student Loan Company Learning Provider Portal, including but not limited to:

1 Initial Learner Application:

The LAS relies on the initial input of learner data. This can either be web based forms which can be completed entirely online by the learner and then verified by centre staff, or a web based form that can be completed face to face between the learner and centre staff. This is totally customisable to the centre's requirements.

2Change of Circumstances:

The LAS allows Changes of Circumstances to be processed in batches as one XML file. This means that they are all 'stored' throughout the day, and then uploaded into the Learning Provider Portal, as one file, the following day. This eliminates the need to administer Changes of Circumstances on a case by case basis on the Learning Provider Portal, which can be extremely time consuming. The Changes of Circumstances covered are:

  • Start/End Date changes
  • Breaks in Learning
  • Withdrawals
  • Cancellations
  • Learning Aim changes.

3Update Student Loan Company learner statuses:

Based on exports from the Student Loan Company Learner Provider Portal into LAS, all learner loan application states are updated. Emails can then be auto generated to notify learners and subcontractors of the application status changes. This allows learners to be kept abreast of their loan application state as well as subcontractors to be continually updated. LAS automatically does this easily, based on one import.

4Learner Matching:

Learner matching is key and is a very time consuming process when you are dealing with large numbers of learners. Very often, learners will apply on the Student Finance England website with slightly different details than those on their initial application. LAS contains thousands of algorithms which use a variety of methods to identify possible learners matches and then gives the user the opportunity to confirm whether or not the match is correct or manually override it.

5Data Synchronisation:

With manual intervention, on the Student Loan Company Learner Provider Portal, data mismatch can occur frequently and go unidentified. This causes real problems during a Student Finance Authority Audit. In an Audit, the Learner Provider Portal data is checked against the Individualised Learning Records, and the 'Provider data self assessment toolkit' (PDSAT) report. This can mean learners are not on correct start/end dates, or even on the correct learning aim. During the daily "workflow procedure", within the LAS, all three data sources are checked and synchronised daily to make sure that errors are reported and any mismatches can be sorted.

6Learner Registration for Funding Drawdown:

When learners are eligible for funding drawdown the LAS will display them to the user so that the user can begin drawdown, or if insufficient evidence has been provided for drawdown to begin take appropriate action.

7Confirmation of Attendance:

Every day of every month LAS will clearly show which learners are eligible to have attendance confirmation confirmed and funding drawdown. It will also display learners who have not yet had evidence of attendance confirmed and allow the user to contact the learner or subcontractor to "chase up" evidence for the learner.

8'Clawback' Risk Management:

'Clawback' is the biggest risk with the Student Loan Company, as learners are automatically 'assumed' to be inlearning for 2/3rds of the time. It is time-consuming to move learners 'out of learning' in months where learning has been assumed, but this generates the risk of clawback. Using LAS, learners who may not have any evidence of learning (in a month where learning time has been assumed) can easily be put on a temporary 'break in study' to be re-engaged later. If they are not re-engaged within 3 months they will be recommended for withdrawal. But looking for evidence each month, rather than quarterly clawback risk is mitigated.

9Financial Projection:

Using export files from the Learner Provider Portal, LAS is able to forecast cash flow projections and drawdowns as well as keep records of previous monthly payments. LAS can also calculate the payments due to subcontractors and feed the information to them through their portal automatically. Subcontractors can then easily raise invoices, less management charges.

10LRS ULN Registration/Retrieval:

Within LAS there is inbuilt functionality to allow centre staff to either easily register/retrieve learner’s Unique Learner Identity Numbers from the Skills Funding Agency's Learning Records Service (LRS), or simply to create a bulk import XML file which can be imported into the LRS so that all Unique Learner Identity Numbers can be registered/retrieved on a daily basis. These can then be imported back into LAS to allow funding drawdown to begin.

11Monthly ILR Production:

Based on the data contained with LAS,the system is able to automatically generate the Individualised Learning Records (ILR) for Advanced Learner Loan funded learners which can then be imported into the Skills Funding Agency's 'Hub'. The ILR can also be tested against the Provider data self assessment toolkit (PDSAT) reports and the Funding Information System (FIS) to ensure there are no inaccuracies.

12SFA Audit Functionality:

For Advanced Learner Loans, the Skills Funding Agency's Auditors compare Individualised Learning Records (ILR) submissions against Provider data self assessment toolkit (PDSAT) reports. The ILR data is tested against the data held within the Student Loans Company's Learner Provider Portal. By generating the ILR from within LAS, and the daily synchronisation of data between LAS and the Learner Provider Portal, we are able to ensure tripartite data integrity between LAS, Individualised Learning Records and the Learner Provider Portal data (confirmed using the Funding Information System (FIS) and PDSAT). This enables LAS to do a daily "Skills Funding Agency Audit" to ensure the data is always correct and highlight any discrepancies.

13Reporting and Auditing:

PEARL can provide whatever reports a centre feel would be beneficial towards their organisational needs. Furthermore every time an import/export is carried out an audit trail remains behind which allows for audit at a later date.

14Supply Chain Management:

Each subcontractor has access to their own login where they can:

  • Register initial learner applications
  • View Student Loan Company's loan statuses for all of their learners
  • Upload initial sign up documentation
  • Request Change of Circumstances for their learners and receive feedback on whether processed or not by centre staff
  • Confirm attendance, every month, for their learners
  • View payments pending
  • View Payment history

Based on the imports and exports from the Learner Provider Portal and LAS, all data is synchronised so the entire supply chain is automatically notified of any changes to their data/learners in real time.