Access to Higher Education

What is it?

We are licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to award and certificate the Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma. It provides an excellent route for adult learners into higher education as an alternative to A-Levels. Each year around 30,000 learners in the UK take Access programmes and many go on to succeed in Higher Education and embark on life changing new careers.

Our Diploma is a full Level 3 qualification that is accepted by most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to meet the entry requirements on their courses. We have worked with HEIs to design its content to prepare learners for successful study on a wide variety of degree programmes.

What does Access to HE involve?

Learners need to get 60 credits to achieve our Diploma, so it normally takes around a year to complete as a full-time course. 45 of the 60 credits come from units which are graded pass, merit or distinction. This means that HEIs can use an individual's grade profile to establish their particular strengths.

Learning providers wishing to offer Access to HE can build their own discrete Diplomas from our comprehensive range of subject unit banks. You can use our advanced qualification search to browse them.

It's simple. You pick a higher education destination that you would like your learners to progress to and then build your discrete Diploma using our units in line with our specification. We will check that your course makes sense before approving it. Once approved you can start recruiting and registering learners.


2018/2019 Access to HE Units

Please note the information below is for Access to HE learners registered with AIM Awards prior to 1st August 2019 .

For information on the new AIM Awards Access to HE Diplomas (for learners on or after 1st August 2019), please select the correct Diploma title from the drop down menu here.

Subject Unit Bank (SUB)
Art and Design
English for Academic Study
Geography and Environmental Science
Health Studies
Human Biology
Introductory Units
ITT Education
Maths in a Health and Care Context
Practical Scientific Project - Gatsby
Sociology and Social Policy
Study Skills
Travel and Tourism
Work Placement

Advanced Learning Loans

Our Access to HE Diploma qualifies for the Advanced Learning Loan. This means that learners can use the loan to cover the cost of their tuitions fees for the course.

If they then go onto study a Higher Education course, upon successful completion of their degree course, their loan will be written off. Otherwise they will pay back the loan (plus interest) when they finish the course and earn more than £21,000 a year at a rate of 9% of any income they earn over this amount.

Becoming an Access to HE provider

Offering an Access to HE Diploma programmes can be extremely rewarding for a learning provider. It can help you reach out to a new cohort of learners and create exciting opportunities for individuals who may have been out of education for some time and don't have the qualifications they need to get into university.

To offer this qualification, you will need to become a recognised AIM Awards centre and work with us to design a discrete Diploma for your centre. Our account management team will support you through the entire process.

Give us a call

We would love to talk to you through how you can work with us to offer this life changing qualification.

Call our Customer Support Team on 01332 341822 or email