Protection of enrolled learners

Protection of Enrolled Learners (PEL) aims to safeguard a learner’s academic journey. It refers to arrangements made for specific programmes to ensure that a learner can complete the programme that they have begun if their programme is no longer offered by their provider for any reason.

A programme in which a learner has enrolled may no longer be offered if a provider stops trading or is unable to continue to offer the programme, for example when it does not have appropriately qualified staff or appropriate physical resources such as equipment.

QQI only validates programmes of education or training where a provider has met specific conditions and criteria. One of these conditions relates to arrangements for the protection of enrolled learners.

Protection of Enrolled Learner arrangements are put in place for programmes which have a duration of three months or more and for which fees are paid.

There are currently two types of arrangements possible:

Academic bonding

Academic bonding allows a learner to complete their programme with another provider. This requires a provider to have an agreement with at least two other providers with a similar programme. These other providers will allow a learner in the first provider to finish their programme at their campus.

Financial bonding

If an academic bonding arrangement is not possible, a financial bonding arrangement will be in place to give the learner a full or partial refund of fees paid. The refund amount will depend on the unused portion of the fees paid.

Providers are required to publish details about their Protection of Enrolled Learner arrangements on their website, stating clearly if these involve academic bonding or financial bonding.