Access to HE Learner Area

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a Level 3 qualification designed to give people the knowledge and skills needed to study in higher education.

The Access to HE qualification aims to

  • Prepare adults who do not have the necessary qualifications to enter university
  • Offer a general introduction to study skills and key areas of knowledge within the subject(s) taken
  • Help people to become independent, self-directed learners and prepare them for the demands of undergraduate study
  • Offer a positive and supportive learning experience where people can build their skills and confidence

You can learn more about the Diploma by reading our Access to HE learner guide then you can find out which colleges near you offer our Diplomas.

Applying to higher education as an adult

Guidance produced in partnership with Linking London. You can go through this guidance as an interactive online course or by accessing specific sections below.

UCAS tariff

The Access to HE Diploma is included in the UCAS tariff system. An Access to HE Diploma with 45 graded credits at Pass is worth 48 tariff points (the same number of tariff points as EEE at A Level) and an Access to HE Diploma with 45 credits at Distinction is worth 144 tariff points (the same number of points as AAA at A Level). UCAS has a video explaining how tariff points work for the Access to HE Diploma and you can calculate how many points your grades are worth by using the UCAS tariff calculator.

You can find out more about how universities set entry requirements for Access to HE learners in our Making HE choices guide.

Funding your studies

We strongly recommend that you seek advice and information on funding your studies before embarking on a course. It is important to discuss your situation with the college well in advance. Having the right information will help you to make a realistic assessment of the financial commitment required to complete your studies. The Money Advice Service is a free and impartial money advice website set up by the government, which is recommended for advice about budgeting and funding your studies.

Everyone aged 19 and over who is studying for a qualification at Level 3 (‘A’ level standard) to Level 6 has the opportunity to fund their course fees upfront in approved colleges and training providers in England through an Advanced Learner Loan. You can apply for a loan to meet the costs of your qualification, which will be paid directly to your college on your behalf. If you complete an Access to HE Diploma and then complete a Student Finance England funded higher education course (for example, Bachelor’s degree, Foundation degree or Higher National), then you will not have to repay the Advanced Learner Loan for your Access to HE Diploma course. The Access to HE Diploma is the only qualification with this ‘write-off’ for the Advanced Learner Loan. For further information, visit the government website on Advanced Learner Loans or the Money Advice Service.

Watch a video from QAA which explains the Advanced Learner Loan.

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