Delivering Access to HE Diplomas to over 31 colleges across the UK

Welcome to CAVA

The Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA) designs and validates Access to Higher Education Diplomas.  Access to HE Diplomas provide an opportunity for adults without the relevant formal qualifications to go to university. Like A levels, they are full level 3 qualifications. Around 40,000 students take Access to HE courses each year in the UK, and gain a recognised entry route to university. The Access to Higher Education Diploma prepares adults for study at university. It is designed for people who left school without the qualifications they would need to progress to HE.

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Completing an Access to HE Diplomas is an excellent choice for adults looking to return to education, study at university, and retrain for new careers. Find out more about the courses, the student experience, and how to sign up.


CAVA works with colleges to design and deliver high quality Access to HE Diplomas to thousands of mature students. Find out more about the qualification and how you can work with CAVA.


Access to HE Diplomas enable thousands of mature students to progress into higher education each year. Find out more about the qualification and how universities can support this progression route.


Access to HE Diploma (Social Science)


After raising a family I decided to pursue my ambition to go to university. The course was intense (five days a week), but this helped the class to forge strong relationships and work together. The course overall was fantastic, there was ample support from tutors, and I received excellent feedback on my first assignment, which really boosted my confidence. I’m now in my final year of a criminology degree, with further ambitions to apply to work in the probation service.



Throughout the pandemic, CAVA have maintained their high levels of communication and support with the Access to HE Diploma team, making it a smooth process to secure grades for our current students.

What is Access to Higher Education?

Access to Higher Education (HE) Diplomas provide opportunities for adults without the relevant formal qualifications to go to university and pursue their ambitions.

Similar to A levels, they are full level 3 qualifications and around 40,000 students take advantage of this entry route to university every year. Access to HE Diplomas can be completed in one year studying at your local college. It will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed at university. As the course is designed for adults, the study hours can fit around work and childcare commitments.

Access to HE Provider Forums hosted by the QAA

Guide for students on 2020-21 Access to HE arrangements

Future teacher recognised for outstanding commitment to study

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It's National #ThankATeacherDay on June 23!
Head over to the website to find out more about how you can say thank you and celebrate teachers who have made a difference 🎉

You can book your place right now for the upcoming @AoC_info Beacon Awards on 9 June!
Webinars are free to attend and will be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the innovative practices which are being awarded this year.
Find out more & sign up:

Amazing to see Ady speaking so positively about his @CambridgeAVA @norwichcollege Access to HE course and the support given by my amazing colleagues. You can follow in Ady's footsteps by signing up for a course next year

Outreach UEA@OutreachUEA

💫Meet Adrian (Ady), a 2nd year Film & Television mature student at UEA, who did an Access to Higher Education course at @norwichcollege

He's shared his journey with us in this lovely video, check it out ➡️

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