What is Access to Higher Education?
Access to Higher Education courses prepare adults for study at university level. They are designed for people who want to study for a higher education qualification, but who didn't get the qualifications they needed during their time at school.
Access to HE courses are delivered in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, mostly at further education colleges. They are available in a wide range of subjects.
Visit the Access to Higher Education website for more information about the Access to HE qualification.
Regulation and recognition of Access to Higher Education courses
QAA licenses the awarding bodies for Access to Higher Education courses, known as Access Validating Agencies (AVAs). AVAs develop, approve and monitor Access to HE courses, and work with further education colleges and other providers that deliver these courses to students. Before a provider is allowed to make an Access to HE course available to students, the course has to be approved by an AVA.
QAA is responsible for assuring the quality of recognised Access to HE courses, and the adequacy of standards of student achievement on these courses. The QAA Recognition Scheme describes the framework through which Access to HE courses are recognised and regulated:
QAA sets out certain criteria for course approval which include confirmation from a higher education institution that the course is appropriate preparation for higher education study. Courses that have been approved by an AVA in accordance with QAA's requirements are recognised by QAA and listed on the Access to HE courses database.
Review and relicensing of Access Validating Agencies
QAA monitors AVAs through an annual reporting process and relicenses them every five years. The relicensing process includes a visit to the AVA by a QAA review team and a published report. On the basis of the report, QAA makes a decision about whether the AVA's licence can be renewed.
AVAs reviewed by QAA
Below is a list of the AVAs that have been reviewed by QAA. For each AVA we provide links to their relicensing reports and the outcomes of our visits: