UNSW is committed to the goals of equal opportunity and affirmative action in education. The ACCESS Scheme (established in 1987) is part of this commitment and is provided for students new to higher education who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage.

The ACCESS Scheme allows UNSW to take the circumstances of individual applicants into account when allocating places in undergraduate programs.

COVID-19 Disaster Payments added to financial hardship category

Applicants can now claim financial hardship if a parent or guardian has received COVID-19 Disaster Payments for at least three months. This is in addition to the existing provisions for applicants whose parent or guardian has received JobKeeker payments.

Read our frequently asked questions related to the recent announcement of the changes to the High School Certificate (HSC).

Who is eligible to apply for the ACCESS Scheme?

To be eligible to apply for consideration under the ACCESS Scheme you must:

  • be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia (includes holders of a permanent humanitarian visa) AND
  • have experienced long-term educational disadvantage so that your Year 11 and/or Year 12 studies (or equivalent) have been affected by circumstances beyond your control.
  • achieve an ATAR or equivalent
  • not be currently enrolled in or have previously undertaken university, TAFE, college or other tertiary level studies either here or overseas (tertiary being defined as Diploma level or above). If you have undertaken tertiary studies you may be eligible for consideration under UNSW's Special Consideration for Applicants with Tertiary Studies ( SCATS)

You are not eligible to apply for consideration under the ACCESS Scheme if:

  • you are an international fee-paying student
  • you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and are applying for entry through the UNSW Indigenous Admission Scheme

Types of Disadvantages considered under ACCESS

The range of circumstances considered under ACCESS include:

  • Disrupted schooling
  • Financial hardship
  • Severe family disruption
  • Excessive family responsibilities
  • English language difficulties
  • Disability or long-term personal illness/medical condition
  • Refugee status
  • Low Socio-economic indexes for areas(SEIFA)*

* 1 to 25% of socio-economic (AG01)

If the residential address you entered in your UAC undergraduate application is identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as being in the lowest 25% of socio-economic advantage in Australia, UAC will automatically generate an electronic EAS application for you (i.e. you don’t have to submit an application).

If an EAS application is automatically generated for you, UAC will notify you by email the day after you complete your application for undergraduate admission.

If you want to claim additional Types of Disadvantages (i.e.. financial, illness) you must lodge an EAS application.

If you are identified by UAC as having an address in the lowest 25% of socio-economic advantage in Australia, consider also applying for the Gateway Admission Pathway , an early conditional offer scheme with a significantly reduced ATAR requirement

How does the ACCESS Scheme work?

Applicants for UNSW’s ACCESS Scheme lodge an Educational Access Schemes (EAS) application (refer to 'How do I apply?' below) and their circumstances are assessed centrally at UAC according to guidelines agreed to by all UAC participating institutions. UNSW uses the centralised EAS assessment to award successful ACCESS applicants EAS points to their Selection Rank. 

This means that if you are eligible for the ACCESS Scheme your Selection Rank is increased, and you compete with all other applicants for a place in the course. The allocation of EAS points does not guarantee entry to UNSW or to your preferred course - you must meet the Lowest Selection Rank for the course you are applying to. UAC will send you an Eligibility letter to advise of your eligibility for EAS consideration at all UAC participating institutions - see UAC's EAS Booklet for details. If you are eligible for UNSW's ACCESS Scheme you will receive up to ten EAS points depending on the degree of educational disadvantage you have experienced.

How do I apply?

If you wish to apply for consideration under the ACCESS Scheme you must lodge two applications with the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

1. UAC Undergraduate - admission to university application

You apply for university entry through UAC. See the UAC website for details.

2. UAC Educational Access Schemes (EAS) application

You complete one common application form for Educational Access Schemes (EAS) at all UAC participating universities. Booklets containing an EAS application form are available from Careers Advisers at your school or from UAC. There is no charge for lodging an EAS application.

The most important offer rounds for Year 12 students are January Round 2 on 26 January 2022 and February Round 1 on Thursday 3 February 2022.

You should ensure your EAS application is submitted well before these offer rounds to ensure your application is assessed and is considered for admission to UNSW.

Refer to UAC EAS Key dates to confirm application closing dates

Further information about UNSW ACCESS Scheme

UNSW Admission