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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for Access to HE students and providers


This page is being regularly updated to reflect the latest advice from the, World Health Organisation (WHO)Public Health England (PHE) and other sources.


QAA is in regular contact with the Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) to ensure we are doing everything possible to support students, providers and other stakeholders during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


AVAs develop, approve and monitor Access to HE courses. QAA licenses AVAs to act as awarding bodies and award the Access to HE Diplomas to successful students. You can find contact details for the AVAs on our website.


If you have any further questions or concerns relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19), please email the QAA Access to HE Team at


What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called Coronavirus. For further information on COVID-19, please see the NHS website.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Symptoms of Coronavirus include:

  1. feeling tired
  2. difficulty breathing
  3. high temperature
  4. a continuous cough.

For more information about symptoms and about what you should do if you experience any of these, please visit the NHS website.

What should I do if I’m not able to study because of illness or because of other commitments, including additional responsibilities as a key worker or carer?

If you plan to complete your studies after 31 July 2020, you will be able to use procedures that are already in place to request extensions to deadlines and to identify where extenuating circumstances may affect your academic performance. You should be able to find out about these from your course tutor or student handbook.

If you are due to complete your Access to HE Diploma by 31 July 2020 you will receive calculated grades for all remaining assessments with submission dates after 20 March 2020. We expect Access to HE course tutors to continue to deliver teaching and support during this period. Therefore, we encourage you to continue your learning wherever you can. If you need help or further support, you should contact your course provider.

What will happen to my teaching and support now the college/provider is closed?

We expect Access to HE course tutors to continue to deliver teaching and support. Tutors are working hard to adapt to new ways of delivery and are developing materials to help you get the most out of your learning in order to prepare you for higher study.

Will my exams be cancelled?

Yes. If you’re due to complete your Access to HE studies by 31 July this year, you will now receive calculated grades for all remaining assessments with submission dates after 20 March 2020.

However, if you are scheduled to sit exams later in the year, exams may be rescheduled or an alternate method of assessment may be applied.


How will our results be determined if we can’t continue with the teaching and assessments?


If you’re due to complete your Access to HE studies by 31 July this year, grades for assessed work due for submission on or before 20 March 2020 will be marked by tutors by applying QAA's current Grading Scheme.

Grades for assessment due for submission after 20 March 2020 will receive calculated grades.

The calculated grades will take into account tutors’ assessment of the likely grade, as well as other factors such as prior attainment on course.    

We are working hard to provide you with information about exactly how your grades will be calculated as quickly as possible. Once available, we will publish it on the Access to HE website.

I’m due to attend an open day/interview for a university place – is this still going ahead?

If you have any concerns around an interview, audition or university open day or taster course, you should contact the university or college directly for advice.

What about meeting the conditions of my university offer?

The UCAS website is updated regularly with information for applicants. The current information notes that 'During this time, it’s important to remember that places are not decided on grades alone. Information in your personal statement and reference are part of the decision-making process along with your interview, portfolio, audition, and any other information that’s relevant to your potential to succeed on an undergraduate course'.   

I want to apply to take an Access to HE course. How do I do this if the college is closed?

You should visit the course provider website to find out more about their Diplomas and how you can apply. You might find it useful to look at our Career Coach tool to help you find out more about the career path you would like to follow and to find relevant courses.

I am a provider and have questions about supporting my students. Who should I contact?

Liaise with your AVA about the situation at your college so that contingencies can be put in place as necessary. Contact details for the AVAs are available on our website.


How can I keep up-to-date?


For the latest advice regarding COVID-19, please see:

For travel advice please check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).