Cambridge Regional College - Centre of Vocational Excellence

Access to Higher Education

An Access to Higher Education diploma will help you develop the study skills and academic knowledge to progress onto a degree level course. It might be for you if:

  • you don’t have traditional qualifications like A levels
  • you have possibly been out of education for a while
  • you would eventually like to study a course at university

Why do an Access Course?


  • Most courses are designed to fit in with childcare or options for study in the evening are available.
  • Most courses are planned over 3 days per week to allow time for part-time work if needed.
  • All courses take one year.


  • Study a broad range of courses at either Cambridge (CC) or Huntingdon (HC) campuses.
  • Around 40,000 people a year in the UK study on Access courses to allow them to progress to further study. A diverse range of people study on Access and there is no upper age limit.


  • Widely accepted by UK universities.
  • A lot of universities actively seek applications from Access learners due to their broader academic study skills and their life experiences.


  • Develop your skills, subject knowledge and confidence in a supportive and encouraging environment.
  • Gain a chance to change career or progress at work.
  • Get into university.

Worries about the costs?

  • Aged 19-23 and don’t have full Level 3 qualification like A levels: NO COST.
  • Aged 19-23 and have prior qualifications or over 24: you can take out an Adult learner loan – this is written off once you get your degree.
  • Thinking of studying a nursing degree at HE? You may be eligible for extra financial support with an annual payment of £5000 from Sept 2020. This money will not need to be paid back.(
  • Thinking of studying a Social work degree at HE? You may be eligible for a bursary that is not dependent on household income –

We have a range of courses that are available to study both full-time and part-time, you can explore these below.

If you are applying as an International Student, please contact our International Centre via email or telephone 00 44 (0)1223 226317.

Financial Assistance

You may be eligible for financial support towards such costs as travel, equipment, books and childcare. If you are aged 19 or over, you may also qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to help pay your Access course tuition fees.  This loan may be written off, if you then go on to complete a Higher Education qualification. Visit our Advanced Learner Loan information page to find out more or contact us on 01223 226315 or email

For information on whether you are eligible for a bursary click here.

More information on Access courses

This is the organisation who validate our diplomas. Visit their website to find courses that are local to you and student stories about progression routes.
CAVA - Access Validating Agency

“The access course provided by Cambridge Regional College was the best preparation for the degree I could possibly have had. Only when I started my degree did I appreciate the relevance and high quality of the tuition offered at CRC.”

Michelle French Access to Healthcare – studying to be an adult nurse at ARU

“The Access course gave me so much more than a qualification. It opened opportunities and gave me the confidence I needed. Wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and great teaching! Currently doing my bioscience degree.”

Lucinda Best, Access to Science - studying bioscience at ARU

“Access (to Health/Healthcare) provided me with a stepping stone to my midwifery degree. As a mature student returning to education following a considerable amount of time out, such a daunting prospect was made easier by varied and exciting course content and the dedication and support of our tutors.”

Sharran White, Access to HC – now a practicing midwife.

“The access course gave me a great foundation for further study at university. I found I was able to advance my understanding more quickly than some of my peers because I had already covered subjects in the access course that were new to them. The volume of work also helped me prepare for Uni.”

Simon Barren, Access to HC – now an adult nurse.

“Nothing could have prepared me better than the Access course.”

Leigh-Anna Murley, Access to HC - training to be a paramedic with the London Ambulance Service

“A year ago I had no self-confidence but the Access course changed my life. I feel that I can do anything now, and the world is suddenly full of opportunities.”

Ash Aqui, CAVA award-winner

Cambridge Campus Status

Huntingdon Campus Status