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 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 and attend an open day.

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

What is Access to HE?

Access to HE guide for learners

 

Subject Guides

 

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.

Open days

Open days are a great opportunity to find out more about the Access to HE Diploma and the courses and facilities available at providers. You can find out when open days are taking place by checking the provider's website or giving them a call. Some of our centres have let us know when their upcoming open days are taking place and these are listed below with links to their websites where you can find out more.

To find out which providers are holding open days please click here.

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.

PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS

Progression agreement with Goldsmiths, University of London
OCN London has signed a progression agreement with Goldsmiths, University of London to collaboratively offer enhanced progression opportunities for our Access learners to degree programmes. As part of the agreement Goldsmiths provides a range of admission and progression benefits for OCN London Access learners across all departments. Further information on specific courses can be found using the link above.

Partnership agreement with London South Bank University
OCN London has signed a partnership agreement with London South Bank University (LSBU) to collaboratively offer enhanced progression opportunities for our Access learners to degree programmes. As part of the agreement LSBU provides a range of admission and progression benefits for OCN London Access learners which will include guaranteed conditional offers at lower admissions requirements than their standard offer across courses in six Schools.

Progression  agreement with London Institute of Banking and Finance
OCN London has signed a progression agreement with the London Institute of Banking and Finance to collaboratively offer enhanced progression opportunities for our Access learners to their undergraduate degree programmes in Banking & Finance and Finance, Investment & Risk. LIBF also offers support for colleges and Access students interested in pursuing a career in banking and finance.

Extraordinary regulatory framework - arrangements due to covid-19 pandemic

In 2019-20, learners who were due to complete the Access to HE Diploma by 31 July 2020 were awarded the Diploma through an extraordinary regulatory framework. This allowed centres to calculate the grades for units that had not been completed before 20 March 2020 (when colleges were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic). The guidance for learners about the framework is available on the QAA website. In September 2020, this was updated with guidance for learners about how to sit assessments for units where the grades were calculated.

Learners on course in March 2020 who were not due to complete by 31 July (for example on a January to January programme) continued their course with assessments completed for each unit as normal, but centres permitted to make adaptations to the assessment or delivery method. These learners were not given calculated grades. Guidance was issued by QAA for these learners.

Learners starting their course in autumn 2020 will complete assessments in the usual manner, following the QAA Grading Scheme regulations. QAA has issued information for students about the arrangements for the award and assessment of the Access to HE Diploma in 2020-21. Providers have made adaptations to how courses are delivered and assessed to allow for blended and online learning or for in-person teaching to take place in line with government social distancing and Covid-secure guidelines. Learners should contact providers directly for information about how courses are being delivered.