Access schemes

University of Birmingham – Access to Birmingham

"The University welcomes students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds, and is committed to encouraging applications from families and communities who have limited experience of higher education.

The Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme provides support for making the change to university life via our Higher Education Learning Module, which consists of an online module, student shadow day and summer academic assignment.

To be eligible, you must be from a Greater West Midlands state school or college signed up to the scheme. You must also meet at least the first three of the following criteria:
• Your family has little or no experience of Higher Education
• The main income earners in your family are not in professional occupations; ie. not teachers, doctors, solicitors
• The school/college or area you come from does not have a high rate of progression to university
• Your teachers recommend that you apply via the A2B scheme because there has been significant disruption to your education or you have a recognised disability

If you are accepted on to the scheme, we may be able to make you a reduced entry offer of up to two A level grades or the equivalent if you complete the Higher Education Learning Module.

It is important to stress that a two grade reduction in the offer from the University is not guaranteed, but your application to the A2B scheme, if successful, will support your application to one of our degree programmes."

University to Bristol – Access to Bristol

Who can apply?
"The Access to Bristol scheme is an initiative that provides local students with an unprecedented opportunity to experience life at the University of Bristol, gaining access to its academic expertise and facilities. Attending the Access to Bristol scheme will show a commitment to study that will stand students in good stead when they apply to university through UCAS.

The scheme is designed as a curriculum enrichment opportunity for students studying A-levels or equivalents and is open to all students in the first or second year of A-level study; the exception to this is the Law stream which is a two-year programme and so only open to students currently in year 12. Participants attend a series of sessions at the University on Wednesday afternoons, studying one of nineteen subject streams.
Local students (resident in BA or BS postcodes);
Those with the academic ability to study at the University of Bristol;
Those who are part of the first generation in their family to go to university;
Those living in a Low Participation Area (LPA)."

The Access to Bristol Bursary
"An important element of the Access to Bristol scheme is the potential eligibility for a bursary. Students who satisfactorily complete the scheme, apply to the University and accept an offer to study here may be entitled to an Access to Bristol bursary. The bursary is worth £3,225 a year and is paid for each year of undergraduate study at the University (excluding any years re-taken and second degrees). The bursary scheme is designed to encourage Access to Bristol participants to apply to study at the University of Bristol and demonstrates the University's commitment to these students."

University of Cambridge - Extenuating Circumstances Form

"The Extenuating Circumstances Form has been designed to ensure that the Cambridge Colleges have the information they require in order accurately to assess any applicant who has experienced particular personal or educational disadvantage.

This form should only be used where an applicant's education has been significantly disrupted or disadvantaged through health or personal problems, disability or difficulties with schooling.

The information provided on the form will help Admissions Tutors by giving a context against which they can judge the academic record of an applicant their performance at interview (if interviewed).

The sort of circumstances it would be appropriate to inform us of via this form include:

  • a serious, acute or chronic medical condition (especially since the age of 14) which caused significant educational disruption
  • significant caring responsibilities, or recent bereavement or serious illness within close family
  • serious disruption to educational provision at school/college
  • other circumstances where serious disruption has occurred - the school/college is welcome to contact a College admissions office to discuss an applicant's particular circumstances

The Extenuating Circumstances Form should normally be completed and submitted by the applicant's school/college by the 15 October application deadline. In those rare cases where the applicant's school/college is unaware of the circumstances a doctor or social worker may complete and validate the form on the applicant's behalf."

University of Leeds – Access to Leeds

"All Access to Leeds applicants will receive special consideration from University of Leeds admissions tutors because of their individual circumstances. However, the Access to Leeds scheme does not guarantee an offer from the University. Admissions decisions are made on a combination of the applicants’ predicted grades, content of their UCAS personal statement, UCAS reference, interview (for some courses) and the additional information provided by the applicant and teacher on the Access to Leeds application form.

Access to Leeds applicants that receive a course offer will receive the standard offer as published in the University prospectus, and the alternative Access to Leeds offer, two grades or 40 UCAS points below the standard offer.

To be eligible for the Access to Leeds scheme students need to meet two or more of the following criteria:
• Be in receipt of an Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £20 or £30 a week
• Be in the first generation of immediate family to apply to higher education
• Attend, or have attended, a school which achieved less than 45% 5 A* to C passes (including English & Maths) at GCSE
• Only option is to attend a local university
• Studies disrupted by circumstances in their personal, social or domestic lives
• Live in a geographical area with low levels of progression onto higher education
• Live in or grew up in public care"

University of Newcastle – Partners scheme

"Partners school and colleges -

In order to be accepted onto the PARTNERS Programme, your school or college must be involved in PARTNERS and your predicted grades must normally match the PARTNERS offer for the course(s) you are applying for. In addition, you must meet one of the following criteria:
• You must live in a government-defined Low Participation Neighbourhood, which is determined by your individual home postcode. These are areas defined by the government as places where relatively few students choose to progress to higher education. Give us a call on 0191 222 6094, or e-mail us, to find out if you live in one of these areas.
• In considering your application, we also take into account other factors such as the attainment levels in your school or college, eligibility for Free School Meals and receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance.

If you are interested in applying to Newcastle University as a student from a PARTNERS school or college, there are two routes available to you:
• The Guaranteed Offer Scheme: You may be entitled to receive a guaranteed conditional offer from the University, at the typical level for the degree programme(s) you've applied for.
• The PARTNERS Programme Supported Entry Route: You may be eligible to receive a lower conditional offer from the University, which includes successful completion of a two-week Assessed Summer School."

University of Southampton – Access to Southampton

"The University of Southampton recognises that exam grades do not always reflect what a student is capable of achieving. Our scheme gives some students who have experienced difficulties or hardship an opportunity to realise their potential. Access to Southampton (A2S) aims to assist those talented students capable of studying at the University of Southampton through a pre-University entry scheme."

What happens on the A2S?
"If the A2S application is successful we will make a scheme offer with a lower A level target (or equivalent qualification) in most cases, so students will be made an offer as set out in the Prospectus, and a separate alternative offer (the A2S offer). The scheme offer will typically amount to a reduction of up to two A-level grades (e.g. BCC rather than BBB) together with satisfactory completion of the Assessed Summer University in July 2010 and the A2S Get Ready to Go Event at Easter 2011 . It is important to stress here that a two grade reduction in the offer from the University is not guaranteed."

University of Sussex - First Generation Scholars Scheme and Care Leavers scheme

If you are the first in your immediate family to think about studying at university (not counting any brothers or sisters who may already be at Uni) then we can offer a range of support from Year 7 through to your time as a University of Sussex student if you come to study with us, and afterwards as you move into a graduate career. You will also be eligible if you are a child in care, have a disability or if there are other factors that may make it harder for you to access university e.g. because you are a young carer.

The majority of our events and activities are offered to students through their school or college so if you are interested it is a good idea to speak to a teacher or tutor about taking part or email us at [email protected]

The University of Sussex First-Generation Scholars scheme also provides financial support if you are the first member of your family to go to University and your household income is less than £42,611 per annum. This support is in addition to any loans and grants from the Student Loans Company

Care Leavers - As a care leaver, you can apply for a non-means-tested cash bursary of £3,000 per year by indicating Care Leaver Status on your UCAS form. The Care Leavers’ Coordinator will then contact you. To be eligible, you will be 25 years old or younger and have been in local authority care for at least 13 weeks since your 14th birthday. Contact Sarah Cullen (tel 01273 877909) for further information.

University of York - Access Scheme

What are the benefits of applying?
"The information provided through the Scheme enables admissions selectors to take into account additional information when considering a UCAS application. They also provide additional support to The University of York Access Scheme students both before they start their studies at the University of York and in the first weeks of term."

Who is eligible to apply?
"To be eligible for the University of York Access Scheme applicants must fulfil one or more of the following criteria:
• The applicant is in Public Care
• The applicant is in receipt of an Educational Maintenance Allowance of £20 or £30 a week
• This applicant has attended a school which achieved less than 48% 5 A to C passes at GCSE in 2008 (Including Maths and English)
• The applicant's studies have been hindered by circumstances in their personal, social or domestic life"