Skip to main content

Access to Higher Education

It’s never too late to achieve your goals!

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are full Level 3 qualifications recognised by UK universities that act as a stepping stone for students over 19 to progress to university-level study.

Our students can then go on to careers in nursing, social work, teaching and other professional occupations such as those in the arts, music, science, and computer technology.

About the Access to Higher Education (HE) Courses

Access courses allow students to progress to university degrees after one year of study at College. The Access programme provides you with the relevant knowledge and study skills you’ll need if you’ve been out of education and want to successfully complete a degree course.

We offer a wide range of subjects on our Access programmes from art and design to science & engineering. For a full list of what we offer, please see the course listings further down this page.

What’s more, you can also continue to study with us after completing your course, as we offer a range of degrees validated by partner universities, together with foundation degrees, higher apprenticeships, professionally accredited courses, and top-up degrees.

To study on this course, you generally need determination, commitment, and GCSE A* - C grade(s), depending on the Access course you choose. Some courses may have further entry requirements, so please check this before you apply.

Key Points
  • All of our Access to Higher Education courses can be financed through the Government’s Advanced Learner Loan. And if you complete it and progress to undertaking and completing a Student Finance England funded Higher Education course, the balance relating to your Access to Higher Education Diploma will be written off.
  • 40,000 people study Access to Higher Education courses every year, and you can join them!
  • Over 20,000 Access to Higher Education students go on to apply for university courses each year.

The Access to HE experience
Whether you've only just heard about Access to HE and want to find out more, or are coming to the end of your course and wondering what to do next, the website, ‘Access to Higher Education’ has plenty of information to help.

The ‘change’starts here!
Access to Higher Education (HE) Diplomas provide opportunities for adults without the relevant formal qualifications to go to university and pursue their ambitions.The CAVA campaign,‘#OneLifeChangingYear’ has lots of useful information to raise awareness of Access to HE Diplomas,including case studies and frequently asked questions.

University Centre, Wakefield College

Why choose the University Centre at Wakefield College?
If you think you have to go away to university to get a degree once you have completed your Access to HE course, then you might be surprised to learn that we can offer you high-quality teaching in a more supportive learning environment, but closer to home.

We know you’ll have other commitments as well as your course, to help, both our full and part-time courses are structured to offer you the flexibility and support you need to succeed. ‘University Centre at Wakefield College’ could just be what you are looking for.

I had no idea where to start after being out of education for so long but after booking a careers appointment with the Wakefield College team they explained my options of starting the Access to Higher Education 1 year Course I was over the moon. The support right from day one from all the tutors and managers at Wakefield College was amazing.

The things I learnt on the Access Course are still helping me with my studies at Huddersfield University. Without the support and guidance from the Access course I wouldn’t have managed all the work this year.
Leah Henderson
Access to Humanities and Social Sciences Pathway

Access to Higher Education Courses

As a mature student and a single parent I have been out of education for a number of years so when I was introduced to the Business Access Course I was slightly apprehensive of studying again. I am glad I didn't listen to myself as the course was enjoyable and motivating. I also found the course to be in-depth and interesting, like a peek behind the curtain of the world of business.

I enjoyed every aspect of the course as it was well structured and the lecturers made the information relatable as well as easy to understand.

The access course gave me an understanding of the different business areas and prepared me for the degree course, even though the work load has increase substantially from a college level course I found the access course has prepared me for the amount of work as well as an understanding of the level and quality of information needed in assignments. I intend to complete my degree to a high level and venture out into the world of business.
Sarah Jayne Winter
Access to Business Management Pathway

Advanced Learner Loans

Aged 19 or over and thinking about further education?

People aged 19 or over who take certain further education courses are eligible for government loans. These loans help pay your college or training organisation for your course fees. For further information, visit our Fees & Money Matters page or you can contact the Financial Support Team at or on 01924 789304. More information can be found on the Advanced Learner Loan website.

Eligible courses offered by Wakefield College include:

  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Vocational, technical and professional qualifications at levels 3 to 6

Learn more about Advanced Learner Loans


Get our latest Access to Higher Education Guide
Access to Higher Education Guide

Our specialist one-year Access to Higher Education courses will provide you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need for university study. They’re particularly suitable for those who haven’t studied A Levels, or who want to return to education and successfully complete a degree.

PDF Download [1.4MB]

Adobe Acrobat Reader
To read the above PDF files you need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is available free for download here -