Five reasons to choose an access course over a foundation year

Students on computer

Access to Higher Education courses provide the perfect preparation for studying at degree level.

What is an Access course?

Access to Higher Education (HE) courses provide the perfect preparation for studying at degree level while achieving a qualification equivalent to three A Levels. They are designed for students who do not already have a Level 3 or A-Level qualification. They are also the perfect stepping-stone if you need to top up your existing qualifications or to gain the required UCAS points for your chosen degree course.

At UCEN Manchester, 98% of our students progress onto degree level study upon completion of their studies, so here are five reasons why you should choose an access course.


Some Foundation Degrees cost the same as a full year’s university tuition, with most ranging from £7,000 to £9,000. 

However, Access to HE courses generally cost between £3,000 to £4,000, meaning you’re only paying half the cost.

If you’re aged 19+, there are some helpful options to help you fund your course or even eliminate some of the costs. 

Course mates 

Our Access to HE courses are designed to support 19+ students back to study, to support their progression to university and to help them secure the career of their dreams. 

You’ll be studying alongside mature students from a range of backgrounds, each with their own unique story and journey. 

Having made the decision to return to education, you’ll all be starting off with the same goal and be perfectly placed to help each other along the way. 

Skills and confidence

You will benefit from a supportive learning environment, which can be a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, practical workshops, presentations, debates and private study.

This closely resembles the learning experience at Higher Education level, so you’ll be fully prepared for your degree by the time you finish your access course. 

More choices

Foundation Degrees are usually tailored to a specific university course, which can be useful but can also limit your options for progression.

By choosing an access course and gaining your qualification before applying to university, you’re leaving your options open, which is perfect if you don’t know the exact route you want to take or if you discover a new area of interest on your studies. 

For example, by enrolling on UCEN Manchester’s Access to HE Business course, you could then go on to study a whole host of related degree courses.

Extra support and advice

As well as the extra financial support available to mature students, our Student Support Service will provide expert guidance whenever you need it. 

All of the advisors on our Careers and Welfare team are highly-qualified professionals who can help you on the path to your dream career. 

View our wide range of Access to HE courses and apply today.