Access to HE
Access to HE Diplomas are designed specifically for adult students, who want to progress to a higher level course, such as a Degree or HND, but may not have the relevant formal entry qualifications, or who may have been out of the classroom for some time. They're suitable if you're 19 or over and want to study at degree level or go on to university but don't have the right qualifications. By taking an Access to HE Diploma you will have time to get a head start on organisational research and time planning skills. The diplomas are especially suited to those who are changing direction after some work experience or family commitments.
Many students who come on to our Access to Higher Education Diplomas find that the courses are designed to suit their learning style and individual circumstances. Teaching and delivery is flexible and we give active consideration to issues such as childcare and finance. The changing climate of Higher Education tuition fees means you must be well informed and you must plan carefully. We will help you do that. Learning is structured to enable you to build up credit over one year towards the Access to Higher Education Diploma.
Until recently this qualification has been validated by the Open College Network of the South West Region (OCNSWR). As of 1 March 2013, OCNSWR officially launched a new brand and name apt awards where apt stands for Access, Progress, Transform. The course remains nationally recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education as an appropriate entry qualification for a wide range of Degree and Diploma courses in UK universities and colleges.
Many Access to HE students have been out of education for a while. If this is the same for you, don’t worry! You will bring with you maturity and life experience which are equally as important. We will assess your current qualification levels and talk to you about the commitment we would expect to see. From there an Access to HE course opens doors to higher education and is widely accepted as an entry qualification to many colleges and universities.
We also offer pre-Access courses for adults who need to brush up their skills before joining an Access programme. This is also designed to boost your self-confidence and empower you to get back into a classroom situation.
The Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma Course Structure
Each Access to Higher Education course consists of a range of specialist subject modules (please see individual course profiles). You will also be required to undertake core modules in English, Maths, and Study Skills for most programmes.
This module is designed to prepare you for continued study at HE level. Units within this module may include:
- Researching and Understanding Opportunities for HE
- Examination Technique and Practice
- Academic Writing Skills
- ICT – word processing, presentation software and spreadsheets
- Improving Own Learning
- Developing your Research Skills
- Preparing for Interview
- Independent Study
An important note about GCSE English and Maths
Currently most universities expect both English and Maths GCSE as a standard entry requirement. We therefore recommend that if you haven't passed GCSE English and Maths at grade 'C' or above in the last three years that you complete the GCSE equivalence module for English and Maths, even if it isn't a mandatory part of your course. This is particularly important if you're interested in entering the teaching or nursing profession.
Success in both GCSE English and Maths equivalence means that the overall credit achievement will be slightly beyond the 60 credits for the Access to HE Diploma.
The Government has announced changes to funding for Access to HE Diplomas, which come into effect from the start of the 2013/14 academic year. The fees are:
Access to Forensic Science, Science
All other programmes
* Age at the start of your course
DEPENDING ON YOUR AGE AND CIRCUMSTANCES YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL HELP AND/OR BENEFITS, AND IN SOME CASE YOU MAY BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE COURSE AT NO COST TO YOU.
Are you aged between 19 and 23?
Any student who does not have a full Level 3 qualification (such as A Levels) and is aged 19-23 is eligible for support to reduce their fees. The amount will vary according to individual circumstances, so please contact us on 01202 205205 for help.
If you have an A Level or similar Level 3 qualification, other courses may be more suitable for you. Please talk to the Adult Guidance Team.
Are you aged 24 or over?
From 1 August 2013, students aged 24 or over who enrol on an Access to HE Diploma will normally be eligible to receive a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. This is a new loan facility that is administered and issued on behalf of the Government by the Student Loan Company. It means that you don’t need to make any payments up front or make repayments until your earnings are £21,000 a year.
If you take out a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan to cover the cost of your Access to HE Diploma and you then progress to successfully complete your degree, the Government will write off the loan that covered your Access course. This means that you could study an Access to HE Diploma for free.
You can find details about 24+ Advanced Learning Loans at:
or call for more information on 01202 205660
You will be able to apply for a loan from April 2013 for an Access to HE Diploma that starts in September 2013.
Flexible Payment Options – Spreading the cost of your course
You can opt to pay your course fees in full at the time of enrolment or, if you prefer, you can choose to pay in instalments. In this event you would pay 20% of your course fee by cash or credit/debit card when you enrol, followed by eight equal monthly direct debit payments (to be paid in full by the end of your course. You will need to set up your Direct Debit mandate when you enrol. There is an additional one-off fixed fee of £10 payable for those who pay by direct debit.