Access to Leeds application guidelines

If you are applying, you must complete sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Access to Leeds 2021 application form. You can find guidance about completing these sections below.

If you are a referee for someone who is applying (such as a teacher, tutor or careers adviser) you must complete sections 4, 5 and 6 of the application form. You can find guidance about completing these sections below.

Privacy and Data Protection

Please note that all information included in the Access to Leeds form will be treated as strictly confidential and will only be shared with staff relevant to the admissions process, where necessary.

By completing this application, you are agreeing to your personal data being accessed and used by the Access to Leeds scheme as detailed in the Access to Leeds privacy statement.

For more information on how the University of Leeds as a whole accesses and uses student information please refer to the main University of Leeds privacy statement.

Access to Leeds Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the scheme, you must:

  • Be applying via UCAS to a full time undergraduate course at the University of Leeds
  • Be living permanently in the UK and be eligible to pay ‘Home’ rated fees
  • Hold or be taking the required Level 3 qualifications (A Levels, BTEC or International Baccalaureate) for the course applied to. (You are not required to be a current pupil).
  • Not have already completed an undergraduate degree
  • Not hold or be taking a foundation degree or Access to HE qualification

If, at any point during the admissions process, you are found to be ineligible due to the above requirements, you will be withdrawn from the scheme.

In addition, you must meet at least two of the following six eligibility criteria. Click on the tabs below for guidelines on these criteria.

First generation of immediate family to apply to higher education

Your parents have not previously completed an undergraduate degree or higher is eligible under this criterion, and includes any degree course obtained at a university or polytechnic, either in the UK or overseas.

Additionally, you are eligible if: 

  • your parents/guardians have started but not completed a higher education course
  • your parents/guardians hold a higher education certificate (HNC) or higher education diploma (HND) from a university, but not a degree
  • your parents/guardians have undertaken a degree level university course during your secondary education
  • your parents/guardians studied for an Open University or similar distance learning degree.

In some circumstances, you may be eligible if your parent/guardian has obtained a work-based higher education qualification which has been completed on a part-time basis.

The term ‘immediate family’ applies to parents only. It does not include siblings or family members outside of the immediate family such as grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts.

If your parent(s) hold a higher education qualification, but you are estranged from them, with little or no contact, you would normally be eligible under this criterion.

We assess such applications on an individual basis and encourage you to provide as much information as possible. If you are unsure whether a qualification is classed as a higher education course, please contact the Access to Leeds team.

From a household with a gross annual income of £25,000 or below

You can demonstrate your eligibility for this criterion in one of three ways:

  • If you receive the 16-19 Bursary Fund* or Learner Support (19+), with an income threshold of £25,000 or below. A referee from your school or college must confirm this). Please note that bursaries or scholarships for school fees for independent schools are not covered by the above.
  • If you receive Free School Meals during GCSE or A Level studies (a referee from your school or college must confirm this). 
  • You can submit a Declaration of Household Income form, completed by a parent or guardian, if you are not in receipt of Free School Meals, 16-19 Bursary Fund or Learner Support. A Declaration of Household Income and guidelines for completing the form can be downloaded from (contact the Access to Leeds team if you are living independently without a parent or guardian). Please note that Access to Leeds only require a completed Declaration of Household Income form in the first instance, if we need any further financial documentation we will contact you directly.

When assessing household income, we follow the Student Finance England guidance to assess taxable income, for the financial year 2019-20.

If your income for the current year will be significantly lower than the previous tax year, we may be able to take this into account. Please contact the Access to Leeds team to discuss.

Attended or attends a school which achieved below the national average Attainment 8 score at GCSE

This is checked using results for the year you sat your GCSE exams.

The national average Attainment 8 score in 2019 was 46.7.

If you changed schools since completing your GCSEs or have completed examinations over more than one year, the results from any year and school in which a GCSE examination has been taken can be used.

You can check the score for your school using School performance tables on the Department for Education website.

You will need to search for the school at which you took your GCSE exams and scroll down to find the Attainment 8 score for the year in which you took them. Results are shown for the latest academic year but you can find previous year's results if you click on the 'Results over time' button.

Living in a geographical area with low levels of progression onto higher education

We determine which geographical areas have a low level of progression onto higher education using your permanent home postcode (as on your UCAS application) and measuring this against data provided by the government. The data we use to judge eligibility is provided by the Office for National Statistics and the Office for Students (OFS).

You can check if they are eligible under this criterion using our online postcode checker

Currently living in or grew up in public care

To be eligible under this criterion, you should have lived or spent time in public care at any point growing up, or be currently living in care.

Studies disrupted or adversely affected by circumstances in their personal, social or domestic life

You meet this criterion if your studies have been disrupted by circumstances beyond your control. Each application is considered on an individual basis and we cannot provide an exhaustive list of situations that meet this criterion. Some common circumstances are listed on the application form in Section 5 vi. We are, however, willing to consider any circumstances that a teacher or tutor can verify as having a detrimental impact on your studies. We would generally consider circumstances that have occurred from GCSE studies onwards and / or during sixth form, unless there has been a significant, ongoing impact from an earlier point.

You must provide further details of these circumstances in both the applicant and referee sections on the application form.

Any information provided will be treated with the strictest confidence. If there is insufficient detail included, we will be unable to process the application until further information has been obtained.

Disruption due to Covid-19

We cannot consider the general disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic under this criterion, unless your circumstances are extreme. You must be able to demonstrate how the pandemic has impacted your studies in a way that is above and beyond the extent of the disruption experienced by the rest of your cohort. Situations we may consider include:

  • you have experienced serious illness as a result of Covid-19 and have spent a prolonged period in hospital
  • you have suffered a close bereavement due to Covid-19
  • you have significant or increased caring responsibilities (ie. caring for someone extremely clinically vulnerable)
  • it has created or exacerbated a very difficult or dangerous domestic situation

You and your referee must be prepared to detail your circumstances and possibly provide evidence where we require it in order to validate your eligibility. If you are not sure whether your circumstances fulfil our eligibility criteria, please get in touch before applying.

Applicants: completing Sections 1, 2 and 3

You must complete sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Access to Leeds 2020 application form. Please ensure that a teacher, tutor or careers adviser completes sections 4, 5, and 6.

The application form is designed to be completed electronically using Microsoft Word. You can type directly into the form. If, for any reason, you are unable to complete the application form using Microsoft Word, please contact us.

Section 1: Personal Details

UCAS Number: You must include your ten digit UCAS Personal Identification number. This is the number we will use when tracking your application.

Email address: Most of the correspondence from the Access to Leeds team will be via email. Where possible, try to provide a personal email address instead of a school email address which you may lose access to at the end of the school year whilst still participating in the scheme.

Please inform the Access to Leeds team if you change your email address, so that you do not miss out on any important information. If you don't inform us of any changes, we cannot take responsibility for you not receiving information regarding your application or other elements of the scheme.

Participation in other schemes: Please use this section to let us know if you have participated in any other programmes at the University of Leeds. It is particularly important to let us know if you have previously taken part in Access to Leeds, so that we can process your application appropriately.

Additional learning requirements: Please include details of any additional learning requirements you may have. This section is not compulsory, but if you think you may require extra support throughout the module please let us know.

Section 2: course details

Please give details of the course(s) you are applying for at the University of Leeds, including the UCAS course codes.

You must apply for your course through UCAS in the normal way. The Access to Leeds application should be made in addition to your UCAS application. You do not have to declare you are applying to the Access to Leeds scheme on your UCAS application.

Section 3: applicant statement

In this section please provide some information about yourself. As we receive a copy of your UCAS application and personal statement you do not need to repeat the information provided on your UCAS form.

In the first section you must write about why you feel you meet the Access to Leeds criteria, providing as much detail as possible. In the second section, you may wish to write about why you want to study the course you have chosen and why you want to come to the University of Leeds.

Please also include any further information about yourself which you consider to be relevant and why you feel you would benefit from the Access to Leeds scheme.

If your studies have been disrupted, you must provide additional details of this in the first section of your statement.

Please type your name in the signature box to confirm that the information provided is, to the best of your knowledge, true, complete and accurate. For the purpose of the Access to Leeds application, an electronic signature or typing your name is acceptable – this box must not be left blank or the application will not be processed until complete.

Referees: completing sections 4, 5 and 6

A teacher, tutor or careers advisor must complete sections 4, 5 and 6. For applicants that are not currently in education an employer can complete this section.

Section 4: Referee Personal Details

Please give details of your name, job title, telephone number and e-mail address so that the University can contact you if any additional information is required to support the application.

Section 5: Eligibility Criteria

As a referee for the application, we need you to confirm the applicant’s eligibility for the Access to Leeds scheme. Please tick the box next to each criterion you believe the applicant meets. Guidelines on eligibility are above.

If the applicant’s studies have been disrupted, you must provide additional details of this in the space provided.

We do not usually ask for any additional supporting evidence of an applicant’s personal circumstances, so confirmation to the best of your knowledge is completely acceptable.

Section 6: Referee Declaration

This section gives you the opportunity to provide additional information in support of the student’s application and to verify that the information provided on the form is accurate, to the best of your knowledge.

Please include any further information you believe would support the student’s application to the University of Leeds; for instance you may wish to confirm the applicant’s potential to become a successful student, or anything further on their suitability for the Access to Leeds scheme.

Please provide as much detail as possible, as it is important for admissions tutors to understand the full context of the student’s application.

Once you have completed the application, please type your name in the signature box at the bottom of the form. For the purpose of the Access to Leeds application, an electronic signature or typing your name is acceptable – this box must not be left blank or the application will not be processed until complete.

What Next?

Once the form is complete, please submit your application online, completing all relevant fields. You will receive an email acknowledgement once your application has been successfully submitted.

When we receive your application, we will assess your eligibility for the scheme, and if confirmed, advise the admissions tutors for the course you have applied to. Please note that admissions decisions are made by individual admissions teams not Access to Leeds.

You will then receive an email which confirms your eligibility for the scheme. This email will also provide details of your next steps.

Please upload your application as soon as possible after your UCAS application. We are unable to consider your application without a corresponding UCAS application.

If you have already submitted your UCAS application and have received a rejection then, should you later be made eligible for Access to Leeds, the admissions team will reconsider your UCAS application alongside your contextual information.


  • For applicants to Medicine and Dental Surgery applications must be received by Wednesday 4th November 2020 at 23:59.
  • For applicants to all other courses, applications must be received by Wednesday 24 February 2021 at 23:59.
  • For Dental Hygiene and Therapy, it is recommended that you submit your application by 15 January 2021.

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