Reference period student load (ReferencePeriodStudentLoad)

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Reference period student load
Short Name
This entity records the full-time equivalence for Students returned every reference period in a Student course session.
Uniquely Identified By
Applicable To
England Northern Ireland Wales

All StudentCourseSessions at providers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.


One entity must be returned for each reference period that the StudentCourseSession overlaps with. As this is an annual collection, we would expect either 1 or 2 entities to be returned for active students per Student course session (for standard or non-standard students respectively). The reference period that the FTE in ReferencePeriodStudentLoad.RPSTULOAD applies to is identified by the ReferencePeriodStudentLoad.YEAR and ReferencePeriodStudentLoad.REFPERIOD fields. Generally, all entities associated with a Student course session should add up to equal no more than 100, unless the student is on an accelerated course or studying at a greater intensity.

Accelerated courses

Accelerated provision should be reflected in a higher ReferencePeriodStudentLoad rather than additional StudentCourseSessions. For example, a course which is delivered over 2 years instead of the usual 3 years would be captured within 2 StudentCourseSessions, each with a higher RPSTULOAD to reflect the greater intensity of the provision, rather than 3 StudentCourseSessions condensed into 2 academic years, each with a regular RPSTULOAD.

The Open University are also required to report this entity for the Scottish part.

For further guidance please see the Full Time Equivalence guidance document.

Quality Rules
Quality rules to follow
Reason Required
To record the intensity of students' activity, to allow the calculation of activity across different reference periods. This is used in SLC eligibility and take up rates.
Minimum Occurrences0
Maximum Occurrences
Child Fields
Revision History
Coding Manual VersionElement VersionNotes and an example provided to the guidance notes on accelerated courses. update to clarify what data is expected in relation to FTE in an annual submission. update to add link to further guidance page. Guidance added to confirm the Open University is required to report this entity for the Scottish part.