AIM Qualifications
Access to HE

Access to HE logo

Access to Higher Education Diploma

people sat around a table workingAIM is licensed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to award and certificate the Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma.

The Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma is a UK qualification which prepares mature students for study as an undergraduate at university. The diploma is designed for people who would like to study in higher education but who left school without qualifications such as A-Levels. These diplomas are usually studied full-time over one year.

We have worked with higher education institutes (HEIs) to design the content of the access diplomas to ensure learners are prepared for successful entry on a wide variety of degree programmes.

Each year around 37,000 learners in the UK take access to higher education courses and many go on to succeed in higher education and embark on life-changing new careers.

Our diplomas are full level 3 qualifications and are accepted by most HEIs to meet the entry requirements on their courses.

The Access to HE Diploma qualifies for the Advanced Learning Loan so learners can use the loan to cover the cost of the course tuition fee.

I’m able to now go off and do what I’ve always wanted to do for the past 22 years
Samirah Chowdhury, Access to HE, Health and Social Care Student
Inspire Learning Nottinghamshire


Becoming an Access to HE provider

Offering 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 centre and complete qualification approval for one or more of our Access to HE Diplomas. Our account team will support you through the entire process.


With AIM you can expect:

  • no mandating of assessment, delivery methods, guided learning hours
  • very little mandating of units to be delivered
  • you can change the diplomas you are offering easily to suit you
  • units that do not need to be decided until the point of registration of the learner so tutors plan their teaching to specific cohorts
  • tailored moderation visits to suit your centre/staffing
  • training and networking events including; programme managers forums and centre standardisation events
  • be-spoke centre training

A growing market

  • graduate roles in IT, teaching, business and finance are predicted to grow over the next five years 
  • 50% of Access to HE registrations were on health courses in 2017-18
  • 93% of students completing their course in 2017-18 were awarded the diploma

Advanced Learner Loans

Advanced learner loans are available for individuals aged 19 or above to undertake approved qualifications at levels 3 to level 6, at an approved provider in England. Advanced learner loans give individuals access to financial support for tuition costs similar to that available in higher education and are administered by Student Finance England. More information

Career Coach

Access to Higher Education’s Career Coach is a great new interactive tool which supports learners to choose an Access to HE course relevant to their career aspirations. It provides tailored advice and information on the skills and knowledge needed for particular jobs, common progression routes and salaries, along with a CV Builder and the latest vacancies. Take a look.

Diploma Booklets

Find out more

We are looking to expand our network of Access to HE providers. If you are interested in joining us please get in touch. If you already offer an AIM Access to Higher Education Diploma but want to drive student registrations, why not display our Access to HE poster in your centre?

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