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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and information

Access to HE welcomes new students starting in January 2021

Date: November 24 - 2020

Access to HE Diploma providers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are preparing to welcome new students to start Diplomas in January 2021. Although exact figures on new student enrolment for January are currently unknown, 1,380 students started their Access to HE Diplomas last January, representing 4% of all Access to HE registrations in 2019-20.

The QAA Access to Higher Education Diploma is a nationally-recognised Level 3 qualification designed to prepare adults to study in higher education. The option of a January start gives Access to HE students greater flexibility in their learning journeys, fulfilling the key programme objective of catering to the requirements of a diverse cohort of students, and capturing prospective students who were unable to start in September.

The impact of COVID-19 on January enrolments remains undetermined. However, more providers are offering the option of a January start this year, enabling students to graduate and enter the workforce more quickly than if they waited until the following September to enrol.

Of the 1,380 Access to HE students that started in January 2020, 940 (68%) opted for health-related courses. A further 6.5% chose science courses, and 3.2% chose medicine and dentistry. This tendency of Access to HE students to choose key occupational areas of study makes them an important resource in responding to local and national needs to support a rapid recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

Access Validating Agencies (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. They play a vital role in development, approval and monitoring of Access to HE courses, and work with course providers. Before a provider is allowed to make an Access to HE course available, it has to be approved by an AVA. 

Places available for January 2021 starts

There are still some places left for students looking to start their Access to HE Diploma course in January 2021. Use our course search to find Diplomas in your chosen subject, in your local area.