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Access NU is a 1-year programme for students who will be 21 or over when starting their undergraduate degree course and who are currently studying a level 3 programme, such as an Access to HE Diploma, in England. This structured programme is designed to support you, as an adult learner, in the academic year you are applying to university. Therefore, you can be starting a 1-year level 3 course or beginning your final year of a longer level 3 course.

By participating in Access NU, you will receive information and advice throughout the academic year, designed to support you with completing your UCAS application and transitioning to university. Students who complete Access NU, will earn 16 Access NU points, which are equivalent to 16 UCAS tariff points when applying to Northumbria.

To be eligible for the scheme, you must meet our specific eligibility criteria outlined below and receive approval by your school or college to participate in the scheme. Following a successful application to the scheme, you must complete the four compulsory elements of the scheme to obtain the Access NU points.

Further details of the programme, including how to apply and full terms and conditions for using your Access NU points can be found below.

Access NU has been designed to support students throughout the academic year they are applying to university. Beginning with supporting students with their UCAS applications, before looking at key skills for undergraduate study and transitioning to university, Access NU provides students the opportunity to tailor a significant proportion of the programme to the areas of support they feel they would most benefit from, although students can attend all elements if they wish. 

Throughout the year, Access NU students will be able to join a specific teams site, which will provide Access NU students the opportunity to chat and ask questions of other adult learners, as well as receive regular information from the university with useful hints and tips related to that point of the application journey. 

Students who successfully complete all compulsory elements of Access NU throughout the year will earn 16 Access NU points which will be accepted as equivalent to 16 UCAS tariff points at Northumbria University. 

To take part in Access NU, students must first complete our online application form. Following a successful application, students will then need to complete any combination of 3 online webinars/activities or faculty events from our programme as well as attend our Access NU conference on campus.   

  • Monday 5th September 2022 - Access NU applications open

  • Friday 4th November 2022 @ 17:00 - Access NU applications close
  • W/C 7th November 2022 - Applicants informed of outcome of application
  • Friday 11th and Saturday 12th November 2022 - Access NU Conference on campus. Attendance is compulsory for Access NU points. Allocations will be looked at after applicants are informed of the outcome of their application.
  • November - June 2023: Programme of online webinars/activities and faculty events. Students must complete 3 of these throughout the year for Access NU points. The programme will be shared with successful applicants. 

  • W/C 5th June 2023 - Successful completion of the programme and associated Access NU points confirmed to students. 

You must meet all the following criteria to apply:

- You are currently completing a level 3 qualification in England and are in your final or only year of your course.

- You will be applying to university this academic year to begin stage one of an undergraduate course.

-  You will be 21 or over on 1st August in the year you start your course.

- You have English Language and Maths GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, or equivalent. If you do not currently have these, you can still take part in Access NU, but must obtain the required GCSE or equivalent results by the summer results period before you are due to start your course.

- By the summer results period, you will be recognised as having 'home fee status':

  • If you’re a UK or Irish national or have ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay) and; you normally live in England and; you’ve been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 continuous years before the first day of your course, apart from temporary absences such as going on holiday, you will have home fee status.
  • There are several other residency statuses which would make you eligible. These can be checked on the student finance website under the “your nationality or residency status”.
  • If you are an asylum seeker or have limited leave to remain, or discretionary leave to remain and therefore do not currently have home fee status, you can still take part in Access NU, but will need to have home fee status by the summer results period to be awarded Access NU points upon successful completion of the programme. 

Should the scheme be oversubscribed, priority will be given to any students who also meet any of the additional criteria below: 

Care experienced – Anyone who has previously been in care, for any period of time, under the age of 18. This care may have been provided in many different settings, including: living with foster carers; living in a residential children's home; being looked after at home under a supervision order; living with friends or relatives in kinship care (either through a formal arrangement, such as a Special Guardianship order, or an informal arrangement without local authority support).

Estranged - A young person aged 18 to 24 who has no communicative relationship with either of their biological/adoptive parents and they do not expect the situation to be reconciled.

Carer - Someone who has sole or shared responsibility, unpaid, to care for a friend or family member who has an illness, disability, mental health illness or addiction who could not manage without their support. Please note this does not include normal, day to day, parental responsibilities.  

Live in a neighbourhood with a low progression rate to Higher Education. You can check your neighbourhood progression rate using the postcode checker. You are eligible if either of the following applies when you search your home postcode (you do not need to meet both):

If your POLAR4 young participation quintile is identified as 1 or 2, you will be eligible to apply to the scheme.


After searching your postcode, click view detailed results and if your TUNDRA MSOA quintile is identified as 1 or 2, you will be eligible to apply to the scheme. (This only applies to applicants living in England).

First generation to go to university -  First generation to go to university means that neither of your parents have been to university and got a degree. You count as being first generation to go to university even if the following people have gone to university: your foster parents, your care workers, your brother or sister, your biological parents (if you're adopted), or a parent with whom you’ve had no contact with during your secondary and post-16 education.

Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic – Students from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic origin.

Entitled to or in receipt of free school meals and/or discretionary payments and/or 16-19 bursary at any point during the last six years.

Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showmen or Boater– This term encompasses a wide range of individuals who may be defined in relation to their ethnicity, heritage, way of life and how they self-identify. This includes: English or Welsh Romany Gypsies, European Roma, Irish Travellers, Scottish Gypsy Travellers, Showpeople (such as people linked with fairground or circus professions), people living on barges or other boats, people living in settled (bricks and mortar) accommodation or New Age Travellers.

Disability, dyslexic or specific learning difficulty - Applies if you have a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long term effect on your ability to carry out normal day to day activities. A disability, long term health condition, mental health condition, or a specific learning difficulty (SpLD).

LGBTQ+ - A student who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or other non-heterosexual orientations/identities and students who identify as transgender (trans), non-binary and other gender diverse identities.

Service child - a person whose parent or carer serves in the Regular Armed Forces, or as a Reservist, or has done at any point during the first 25 years of that person’s life.

Refugee – Your claim for asylum has been recognised and you have been granted official refugee status.

Asylum Seeker or someone who has been granted limited leave to remain or discretionary leave to remain – You are in the process of seeking asylum, or the decision is still pending, or you have been given permission to stay temporarily in the UK. 

Applications for this year's scheme are now closed and will reopen in September for 2023.

By submitting the application form the applicant is signing to say they have read, understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions detailed below.

  • Northumbria Staff are committed to supporting and guiding students through the Access NU Scheme and we therefore expect the same high level of commitment, dedication and enthusiasm from all participating students, so that they can earn the benefits associated with the scheme and get the most out of the experience.
  • Northumbria University will use its reasonable efforts to support students who are not able to complete all compulsory elements of the scheme due to circumstances not within their reasonable control including: access to online sessions; serious illness; bereavement or similar. Any mitigating circumstances should be communicated to Northumbria University as soon as reasonably practicable to the Access NU team via
  • Northumbria University are currently reviewing its support package for any student unable to pay for the travel for compulsory on campus elements of the scheme and will use all reasonable efforts to support.
  • Northumbria University will consider applications made by Access NU students through UCAS, and make suitable candidates a standard conditional offer, admitting students who satisfactorily fulfil all aspects of the conditional offer. The award of Access NU points is made entirely at Northumbria University’s discretion.
  • Northumbria University is under no obligation to make any form of offer to students who have participated in the Access NU, and participation in the Access NU in no way constitutes any form of guarantee, promise, indication or agreement that a student will be made an offer of any kind to enrol on any form of course offered by Northumbria University.

Students must be aware of the following:

  • Students who successfully complete all compulsory elements of Access NU will earn 16 Access NU points which will be accepted as equivalent to 16 UCAS tariff points at Northumbria University.  
  • Students must meet all the requirements set out in their conditional offer.
  • Please note that Access NU points are not taken into consideration with Foundation programmes and ALL extended degrees.
  • Students wishing to use their Access NU points to apply for a degree apprenticeship, should note this will need to be discussed with the degree apprenticeship recruiter and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the employer. The Access NU team will be able to support with explaining the scheme and its benefits to any recruiter.
  • Students holding Access NU points are only able to defer application to Northumbria University for one year only.
  • Northumbria University reserves the right to withdraw Access NU points should a student breach the Code of Conduct under the serious incidents of misbehaviour.
  • Access NU students who are using Access NU Points to meet the course entry requirements at Northumbria University must have applied through UCAS by 18:00 on 30th June 2023 and once any offer has been made, place Northumbria as their firm choice to guarantee their points will be taken into account. Any students applying after this date including through clearing or placing Northumbria as their insurance choice should still make Northumbria University aware they have completed Access NU via and Northumbria University will use its reasonable efforts to honour your Access NU points, but this will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the course.
  • Northumbria University reserves the right to withdraw any offer of Access NU points should a student not place Northumbria University as their firm choice.
  • Any Access NU student who is an asylum seeker or has been granted limited leave to remain or discretionary leave to remain, must have home fee status by A-level results day in order to use their Access NU points.
  • Students can only achieve a maximum of 16 points from all of our supported entry schemes and any other access initiative combined. Even if students complete multiple programmes, Northumbria University will only be able to consider a maximum of 16 equivalent UCAS tariff points.

For further information or any questions related to the scheme, including support with applications, or staff looking to book an Access NU introduction session for their students, please contact our dedicated Access NU team here.

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