Access to Higher Education

Discover your fast-track route to university.

Invest in yourself with an Access to Higher Education qualification.

Access to HE courses have been specifically designed for adult learners aged 19 or over who do not currently have the relevant entry requirements or qualifications to go to university. There is no upper age limit, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve been out of education for a period of time or wish to return to education to change career.

Access to HE qualifications are equal to three A Levels, giving you the UCAS points you need to apply for university-level study. Programmes will last one year (36 weeks of study), after which you will have the diploma, knowledge, skills and confidence to study at degree level. Throughout the programme, you will experience a variety of teaching and learning strategies to suit all learning styles, including essay and report writing, group work and presentations.

Don’t let fees hold you back!

Study an Access to HE Diploma for FREE with an Advanced Learner Loan! If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of your Access to HE Diploma and go on to successfully complete your Higher Education course, Student Finance England will write off your Advanced Learner Loan debt. Find out more about Advanced Learner Loans here.

Each year, around 95% of our Access to HE students progress to university on completion of their programme, going on to over 100 different universities across many different degrees and disciplines.


Although the programme is intensive and demanding, it is structured in a way that recognises the pressures on mature learners. Many students successfully balance the programme with work, family, and childcare commitments, and find it to be a rewarding experience. Our friendly team are on hand to support you through your studies as well as any funding, career and learning support you may need.

Throughout your time on the programme, we will provide support through a personal tutor as well as our dedicated team of study support specialists who are on hand to give you extra support, if required. We will work with you to develop a study plan so that you can meet coursework deadlines and schedule study time around your other responsibilities.

We will also guide you through the process of your UCAS applications. This includes checking your applications and personal statement as well as providing the supporting reference before they are submitted.

Don’t let fees prevent you from following your dream of going to university! There are plenty of funding options to help you, including:

19+ Advanced Learner Loan

If you are aged 19 and over, and want to study an Access to Higher Education programme, you are eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover your tuition fees. Student Finance England will write off any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE programme, if you go on to complete a higher education/university level course. This means you do not have to repay it.

If you don’t go on to study a higher education/university level course you won’t need to start paying back the loan until you earn over £25,725 per year.

Nursing Bursary

New and continuing degree level nursing, midwifery and many allied health students will benefit from guaranteed, additional support of at least £5,000 a year to help with living costs from September 2020. Read more about how it is expected to benefit more than 35,000 students every year.

Find out more about your funding options here.

Key programme features

  • One-year programme
  • Supportive personal tutor
  • Equivalent to three A Levels, which means you can achieve the UCAS points you need for university
  • Designed exclusively for adults
  • Widely recognised and accepted by UK universities
  • Funding options available
  • Designed to fit around your lifestyle
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