The York Access Scheme aims to provide a fair chance of getting into the University of York. It gives you the opportunity to let us know about any circumstances that may affect your progression to a university like York.

We are committed to widening access to York, particularly for applicants from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education. Our ambition is to work together to promote a more equal, diverse and inclusive society.

Contextual offers

Contextual offers aim to provide a fair chance of getting into York. They allow us to look at more than exam results in the application process. You could be eligible if you’ve spent time in local authority care (such as foster or residential care), or you attended a state school and live in an area in the UK that has low levels of progression to higher education.

Find out more about contextual offers

Benefits of the York Access Scheme

By providing us with more detailed information about your background than you provided on your UCAS form, you could receive additional consideration from our admissions assessors and a contextual offer of up to two grades below the typical offer. You could also access an enhanced support package that will help you to meet other offer holders and prepare for the exciting transition to university life.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply for the York Access Scheme, you must:

  • be a Home applicant to an undergraduate programme at the University of York
  • have attended a UK state-funded school at KS4 (secondary) and KS5 (sixth form or college).

Neither of the above criteria will be relevant to those applicants currently seeking asylum, and those with refugee status may not have attended a school in the UK. If this applies to you, please indicate this on your York Access Scheme application form. The Access and Outreach team will contact you if they require additional information.

You must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • attended a school that performed below the national average*
  • was entitled to Free School Meals, Pupil Premium funding or discretionary school/college payments related to financial hardship
  • have a disability or long-term health condition and are in receipt of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • are seeking asylum in the UK or have refugee status
  • have caring responsibilities for a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem
  • estranged from your family**
  • from a background underrepresented in higher education, as follows:
    • British Black background (such as Black or Black British – Caribbean, Black or Black British – African or Other Black background)
    • Asian or Asian British background (such as Asian or Asian British – Indian, Asian or Asian British – Pakistani, Asian or Asian British – Bangladeshi)
    • Mixed or multiple ethnicity background (such as White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African, White and Asian)
    • Gypsy or Traveller background.

If you do not meet the criteria outlined above, but you have experienced challenges that have affected your exam grades or course work, please take a look at our mitigating circumstances policy. If you have spent time in local authority care (such as foster or residential care), you may be eligible for a contextual offer.

*You can check this online using the government school performance website ( For secondary-school performance, look for the attainment 8 score and for sixth form/college performance, look for the average advanced level qualification. We will use the most recent data available on 30th September 2022.

**'Estranged' describes someone who has little or no contact with their parents (either biological or adoptive), and the situation is likely to remain permanent.


Complete your application

This is an online application process. To complete the application form you will need an email address for a member of staff from your sixth form or college, preferably your UCAS referee.

Submit your application

We encourage you to submit your York Access Scheme application form at the same time as submitting your UCAS application. This will ensure a smooth admissions process and allow admissions assessors to take all the relevant information into account when making their decision.

At the latest, you should submit your York Access Scheme application before 30 March 2023. If you are unable to do this for any reason, please contact

Await a decision

The Access and Outreach team will assess your application to determine whether you meet the York Access Scheme criteria. They will then contact you to let you know the outcome of their decision.

They will inform the Admissions team if you are eligible, but will not share the details of your application form unless you give permission to do so. If you're eligible for the York Access Scheme and receive an offer, you'll also receive an offer up to two grades below the typical offer.

If you wish to make a complaint about the assessment of your York Access Scheme application, refer to the University’s complaints procedure.