Access to higher education

The one year course that can get you into uni

It’s never too late to get the qualifications you need to change your career and land your dream job.

About Access to Higher Education

If you’re over 19 and the job you want requires a degree, but you didn’t get the grades or qualifications you needed the first time around to get into university, then an Access to Higher Education diploma could be for you.

You'll study for one academic year, and your classes are usually timetabled for two or three days each week, giving you added flexibility for childcare, work and other commitments.

Available courses

Gateshead College - access to education

It could cost you nothing

What’s more, there's still time to apply to start this September and it could cost you nothing!

There’s a range of financial support available, dependent on your age and circumstances.

Under 19?

There is a range of grants and bursaries you can apply for to help cover some of costs of coming to college.

Finance options


Loans are available which you don’t pay back if you go on to successfully complete a degree course.

Finance options

Under 19?


Pay for access to education with an advanced learner loan

If you’re aged over 19 years old, you can apply for a 19+ Advanced Learning Loan to cover course fees. Then, if you go onto complete a higher education degree course, the balance of the loan, including any interest, will be ‘written off’ which means you won’t have to pay it back. 

You don’t have to take a loan, but if you do, it means you can start your course now with no upfront fees. If you don’t go onto to complete a higher education degree course, you’ll need to pay the loan back, once you earn over £21,000. However, instalments can be as low as £7.50 a month. See here for more information.