Access to Higher Education Qualifications

Our Access to Higher Education (A2HE) Diplomas can help you gain the qualifications you need to go to university.

Boost your confidence and progress to university

Always wanted to go to university but don’t have the right qualifications to apply? Our Access to Higher Education (A2HE) Diplomas are designed to help you get there.

They allow you to progress to degree level study – without going back to college –  by learning remotely at your own pace to fit in with your work and home life.

Our courses are supported by 19+ Advanced Learner Loans so there are no upfront costs and no lump sum to pay.

Plus, all the qualifications featured on this page entitle you to student discounts through the Totum Card!

Access to Higher Education Diplomas

Access to Higher Education (A2HE) Diplomas are designed to enable adult learners without traditional qualifications to progress into degree courses at university.  They are national level 3 qualifications that are recognised by universities in England and Wales.

Why choose an Ixion Access to Higher Education (A2HE) Diploma?

  • Access university courses even if you left school without formal qualifications.

  • Expand your knowledge of the core elements of your chosen subject.

  • Equivalent to A level study.

  • Accredited by Open College Network West Midlands.

  • Funded via 19+ Advanced Learner Loans – a form of student finance which allows you to learn with no upfront costs.

If you are interested in a career change, want a challenge or simply have a desire to learn, then A2HE Diplomas have a successful track record. Hundreds of thousands of students have benefited from the opportunities they provide. Contact us to find out more.

A2HE Diploma FAQs

A2HE Diplomas are designed to enable learners without traditional qualifications to progress into degree courses at university. Find answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Learners must have GCSEs in both English and Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) or be working towards these qualifications (talk to us about functional skills if you do not have these). Learners also need to aspire to study a degree related to their chosen subject at university.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are widely accepted as an alternative to A levels for university entry and have a proven track record of helping students to secure a place on their chosen degree.

Learners should, however, be aware that universities each apply their own entry requirements, and these vary broadly depending on the reputation and popularity of the university and of the degree programme that relates to your area of interest.

These variable admission criteria may include but are not limited to:

  • Achievement of a certain amount of A2HE Diploma units at merit or distinction.
  • Successful completion of a face-to-face interview at the university.
  • Successful completion of literacy and numeracy assessments by the university.
  • Completion of specific unpaid work experience or a previous job role.
  • Prior attainment of GCSE English and Maths at grade C or above, or equivalent such as Functional Skills at Level 2.

It is vitally important that each student investigates the entry requirements of a range of universities that they could practically attend to determine if the A2HE Diploma, and units included in the course, will meet university entry requirements.

Students should complete this exercise as early as possible so that they can plan for which establishment they will be applying to, and start to work towards it.

Please complete the contact form at the bottom of this page and one of our team will be in contact you. Alternatively please email

The cost varies depending on your chosen subject, but the fees are usually covered by 19+ Advanced Learner Loan through Student Finance England. If you go on to Higher Education and complete a degree course, your loan for study on the A2HE Diploma is written off.

Find out more about 19+ Advanced Learner Loans.

A2HE Diplomas are for learners who want to study for a degree at university, and need to update their skills and knowledge to meet the entry requirements.

Your work will be assessed through end of unit assignments. These provide you the opportunity to check up on your knowledge and advance. After each assignment your tutor will offer feedback to help you not only progress further but also improve your skills. This Access to Higher Education Diploma is a level 3 Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) regulated qualification. To successfully achieve your qualification, you will need a total of 60 credits. Of these, 45 will come from graded units of academic content, while the following 15 will be drawn from ungraded units concerning study skills.

About 19+ Advanced Learner Loans

If you are aged 19 or over and thinking about your career progression or higher education but can’t afford to pay for your qualifications upfront, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan that will support the cost of your training.

They are an agreement between the learner and Student Finance England through the Student Loans Company (SLC) to pay for Qualifications at Level 3 and above for Adults 19+

They enable individuals to invest in their development with no upfront costs.

The Advanced Learner Loan is used to pay the training provider directly to deliver the qualification.

Each qualification has a value based on the size and type of qualification.

Advanced Learner Loan eligibility does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks.

In most cases, you must be:

  • 19 years of age or older on the first day of your course.
  • living in the UK on the first day of your course.
  • living in the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course.
  • a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there are no restrictions on how long you can stay).

For further information check your eligibility here

Once you have decided on the course you would like to do, contact us on the form below for some further information.

We will explain how to apply and give you the information you need to do this.

You can then apply on the government website here

You only start to pay back your loan once you have completed your course and you are earning above a certain amount. This is called the threshold. The threshold changes annually on 6th April.

If you are unemployed or not earning you don’t have to pay it back until you are.

You pay back at a rate of only 9% of the difference between the threshold and what you earn.

More information can on the website.

Or complete the contact form at the bottom of the page and we’ll get back to you.

Please see below some Frequently asked questions if you have any other question please contact us via the form below

How Much is it?

The amount depends on the course, the fees charged by the training organisation and amount set by the government. The minimum Advanced Learner Loan amount is £300. We will confirm the cost and the amount that can be covered by a loan before enrolment.

Can I get a loan if I am unemployed?

Yes, provided you meet the eligibility requirements see eligibility above.   

My income varies each week how do I pay back my loan?

The loan repayments are deducted at the same time as your Tax and National Insurance but only when your earnings are above the weekly threshold. Loan repayments are calculated as a percentage of the difference between the threshold and what you have earned.

I am self-employed how do I pay back my loan?

If you are self-employed HMRC will work out how much you pay from your tax return.  You then pay it at the same time as you pay your tax return.

Can I pay back my loan early?

Yes, and there is no penalty for early repayment.

Student Discount Card

All of our Advanced Learner Loan qualifications featured on this page entitle you to apply for a TOTUM Pro student discount card.

TOTUM is the #1 student discount card and app giving you access to exclusive student deals on food and fashion, tech and travel and everything in between. In store and online, TOTUM puts all the best student coupons, vouchers and discounts right where you want them – in your pocket!

Picture of a totum card

Contact us

Please complete the form below and one of our engagement team will get in touch with you to discuss further.

Alternatively please contact Joseph Kelly at

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