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Gain that essential qualification

Access your degree or higher-level qualification with us and find your way to a prosperous career. The Access to Higher Education (HE) diploma is designed for people who do not have “traditional” qualifications, such as A Levels, and for those who have been out of education for some time. If you want to go to university but feel you might lack the entry qualifications, or you are worried that you might not be able to cope with the demands of degree-level study, then an Access course can help. Our pathways cover a range of vocational areas from Healthcare and Nursing, to Science and Humanities. These courses are all studied for around 14 hours a week over 32 weeks and involve a range of activities relevant to the pathway being studied.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is validated and accredited through the National Awarding Body, Skills and Education Group Access, which is an Access validating agency, licensed and regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

View our Access to HE Booklet for more information.

Progression to higher education institutions indicates that these programmes are delivered successfully with positive outcomes for students. Destination information for completers in 2019-20 shows that 90% of students accepted places at university overall, with 39% of those accepting places where to Russell Group universities.

Widely recognised

The Access to HE Diploma is widely recognised by UK universities and many actively encourage applications from Access to HE students.

40+ years

The first access courses at York College were established in the 1970s. These qualifications are a way of gaining access to higher education if you are aged 19 or over.

Write off your loan

Student Finance England will 'write off' any outstanding Advance Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete an eligible higher education course. This means you do not have to repay it.

Successful progression

Last year 81% of our Access to HE students sucessfully progressed to higher education, above the national average.

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2022 03 22 York College D1 S2 135
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Funding your course

If you are applying to one of our Access to Higher Education (HE) Diplomas, depending on your residency history, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the your course fees. If you choose to take out an Advanced Learner Loan, you will not have to pay any upfront fees. Student Finance will pay the tuition fee on your behalf directly to the College. Details of how to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan can be found of the Government website [Advanced Learner Loan - GOV.UK ( ]. Please note, you must wait until you receive a learning and funding information letter from the College before making your loan application. You may apply, if you wish, for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover part of your tuition fees, and in this case, you will need to arrange to pay the remaining balance to the College.

Once you have completed your course you will only start to repay your loan when your income is over a certain ‘threshold’ amount. Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advance Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE Dipoma once you have completed a higher education course. This means that you do not have to repay it.

NHS Learning Support Fund

Following successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course at York College, students starting and continuing their degree course from September 2020 can apply for the NHS Learning Support Fund (NHS LSF) if they’re on one of the following pre-registration Undergraduate or Postgraduate courses:

  • Dental Therapy/Dental Hygiene (Level 5 and 6 courses)
  • Dietetics
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing (adult, child, mental health, learning disability, joint nursing/social work)
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Operating Department Practitioner (Level 5 and 6 courses)
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Paramedics (bachelors and masters courses are eligible, DipHE and FD courses are not eligible for NHS LSF)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry/Chiropody
  • Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and Language Therapy

NHS LSF offers support for:

  • A Training Grant for all eligible students of £5,000 per academic year – you need to be actively studying one of the courses from the list above, and receiving BOTH Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan. The eligibility criteria is on this page: NHS Learning Support Fund | NHSBSA
  • Parental Support of £2,000 for students with at least one dependent child under 15 years, or under 17 years if registered with special educational needs (this used to be called Child Dependants Allowance)
  • Reimbursement of excess costs incurred on practice placement for travel and temporary accommodation costs (Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses)
  • Students experiencing financial hardship (Exceptional Support Fund)

Please visit the NHS Learning Support Fund website for full details.

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