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Your grades are only part of the picture. At BU we want to learn about you and your life experiences as this allows us to identify your potential to succeed if you haven’t had the same educational opportunities as other applicants.

What this means in practice is that we look at more than just your academic performance when making you an offer. ‘AccessBU’ allows you to tell us about personal circumstances that are not always evident in your UCAS application. We then use this information when considering your application to decide if we can make you an offer that gives you a better chance of accessing Higher Education.

If you are thinking of applying to BU without traditional qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels, or if you are unable to meet the entry requirements published on our website, we may be able to make you an offer through AccessBU if you meet our criteria below.


When we receive your application, we will automatically assess your eligibility for AccessBU if you fall into any of the following five categories:

  • You have been in care
    We're committed to supporting young people in care and care leavers to enter and succeed in higher education. We offer a range of support to make your transition to university life easier.
  • You live in an area with a low participation rate in Higher Education
    You can check to see if you live in an area that qualifies by searching for your postcode on the Office For Students website. A postcode with a POLAR4 score of 1 or 2 will mean you're eligible for an AccessBU offer.
  • You have been recognised by the UK government as a refugee
    We recognise the barriers to accessing Higher Education if you are a refugee. You will find help and support on the Refugees Support Network website.
  • You are aged 21 years or over and have relevant experience (paid or voluntary)
    Applicants over the age of 21 without traditional qualifications may have relevant work experience (either paid or voluntary) that demonstrates ability to succeed in Higher Education.
  • You took exams at an “aspiring” school or college
    If you attended a school or college with low GCSE or A-level attainment, we will take this into consideration when looking at your grades. 

You can still be considered for AccessBU if you do not fall into any of the categories listed above. All you need to do is complete our AccessBU Application Form. You will need to make sure you’ve applied through UCAS before you submit the form as we won’t be able to consider you for AccessBU if you haven’t already applied to us. Once we receive your UCAS application and your AccessBU application form, we will consider them both together and, if you meet our requirements, make you an AccessBU offer.

You should use the AccessBU Application Form if: 

  • you have a disability, medical condition or learning need that has affected your previous study

  • you (or a close family member) are serving (or have served) in the Armed Forces 

  • you are responsible for caring for a close family member.

If we have already made you an offer, we may be able to reconsider our entry requirements based on the information you provide.

Before we are able to consider your AccessBU form, we will need a reference from someone at your school or college who is able to support the details you provide.

How could this affect my application?

It’s important to understand that, simply because you fall under one of the above indicators, does not mean you are guaranteed an offer. However, we do take your background into consideration alongside all the other information you provide in your application - your predicted grades, personal statement, references, work and other experience and other academic achievements - when deciding whether to make you an offer and what that offer will be.

By looking at your personal situation, we can assess your potential to succeed on an undergraduate course, as well as better understand the circumstances surrounding your achievements. All of this enables us to make you an offer that may be 16 UCAS Tarrif Points below the published tariff.

Which courses are eligible?

All of our undergraduate degree courses are eligible for AccessBU.

Do I need to submit additional information?

If you fall into any of the five categories listed in the Eligibility section above, you do not need to provide any additional information. If you submit an AccessBU Application Form, we will ask you to provide contact details from someone at your school or college who is able to support the details you provide. 

We do offer additional support, in the form of the BU Maintenance Bursary and BU Care Leavers Bursary, to students who may require extra financial help during their time at university. If you would like to be considered for either of these bursaries, you will need to apply for them through the individual bursary pages.

If you’ve got any questions, or want to know whether this may apply to you, please get in touch