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Access to HE

Thinking about doing an Access to HE course?

We've put together this information to help you make this important step.

Access to Higher Education (HE) diplomas are designed to enable learners without traditional qualifications to progress onto degree courses at university.

The Access to HE Diploma is a national Level 3 qualification that is recognised by universities in England and Wales.

If you are interested in a career change, want a challenge or simply have a desire to learn, then Access to HE diplomas have a successful track record and hundreds of thousands of students have benefited from the opportunities they provide.

A typical Access to HE diploma programme may be studied for one year full-time or two years part-time. Programmes offered during the day are generally organised to allow students to fit their study around their home, family and work commitments and can be delivered in a traditional classroom setting, wholly online, or as a blended learning course depending on the particular diploma and centre.

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Financial support

Access to HE learners can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a course. Loan eligibility does not depend on income and there are no credit checks.

Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances learners owe for an Access to HE course once the higher education course is completed. This means learners do not have to repay it.

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Note: The Education and Skills Funding Agency has published the Advanced Learner Loan funding and performance management rules for 2024 to 2025. View it here.

Career Coach

Access to Higher Education’s Career Coach is a great new interactive tool which supports learners to choose an Access to HE course relevant to their career aspirations. It provides tailored advice and information on the skills and knowledge needed for particular jobs, common progression routes and salaries, along with a CV builder and the latest vacancies. 

For more information