Access to HE Diploma Students and Progression on to Higher Education

After attending (along with colleagues Sue Betts and Emily Harber) and contributing to OCN London’s excellent annual Access to HE conference yesterday, I thought it would be timely to discuss all things Access in my article. A number of interesting and timely topics were covered at the conference, including progression to HE data and the new UCAS tariff. Hugh Joslin delivered a presentation on college learner progression to HE data from 2007-2012, including Access applicants, drawing on BIS and Linking London commissioned reports. Hugh also mentioned our eagerly awaited publication of the next progression of college students in London to higher education report, (commissioned by Linking London and being undertaken by Hugh Joslin, Jill Jameson and Sharon Smith at the University of Greenwich) which will bring the data up to 2014-15. 

I have recently read with interest two QAA reports, The Access to Higher Education Diploma: Key Statistics 2014-15 and Access to Higher Education: Applying to Higher Education 2015 which came out in May and were highlighted at OCN London’s conference.  Both reports pull together some key statistics on the characteristics of Access to HE Diploma students, as well as applications and progression onto higher education. If you haven’t had a chance to look through them they are well worth a read. I’ve cherry picked a few facts and figures which might be of interest below from the 2015 UCAS cycle:

  • there were 33,525 UCAS applicants with an Access to HE Diploma -70 per cent of these applications were accepted.
  • 74% of applicants with an Access to HE Diploma were women and 88% of all applicants were aged 21 and over.
  • applicants holding an Access to HE Diploma made up 5.7 per cent of all applications.
  • 46 per cent of accepted applicants with an Access to HE Diploma applied for courses in medicine, dentistry and subjects allied to medicine, such as nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and radiography.
  • In the 2015 UCAS cycle Access to HE students accounted for 21 per cent of all accepted applicants on courses in subjects allied to medicine.


The reports also include national data on HE completion and achievement of Access to HE Diploma entrants. Our own progression of college students in London to higher education report will provide a London perspective as well as, for the first time, data on progression into and through HE of Access to HE Diploma applicants by subject area. 

Also due in part to the fact that nearly half of all Access to HE Diploma learners progress on to subjects allied to medicine, including nursing, midwifery and allied health professions, Linking London have produced a comprehensive guide for Access learners interested in applying to these subjects. Further details can be found in the Linking London IAG Resources section of this newsletter.


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