The programme that is best for you will depend on your own circumstances and there are advantages and disadvantages of each route to undergraduate study. If in doubt do talk to us as we offer Access to Science courses at different campuses and can help advise you on the option that is best for you.
Access courses differ in structure, and assessment from the gateway year. As an access student you will apply to university through UCAS and will be made an offer that is conditional on passing your Access Diploma to a specified standard. Gateway students have already applied through UCAS so progress automatically to the next year of study on completion of the year to pass standard. One important difference is cost and financial support available. An access course is a further education programme whilst the gateway year is a higher education course. For most applicants, an Advanced Learner Loan is available to cover the cost of your access course. This loan is written off if you subsequently complete an undergraduate degree, meaning that it is not added to your loan repayments after graduating. The gateway year costs the same as each year of your undergraduate programme with us.
Most UK applicants will be eligible for a student loan to cover tuition costs with additional maintenance loan funding available to cover living costs, subject to various eligibility criteria that you can find on the Student Loans Company website (www.slc.co.uk). Currently it is possible to take out loans to cover four years of higher education, for example to fund your gateway year, the following two years of a FdSc programme, and a fourth year to complete a BSc (Hons) top up (if eligible).