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.

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 Disadvantage considered under ACCESS

The range of circumstances considered under ACCESS include:

  • financial hardship/low SES
  • English language difficulties
  • refugee status
  • disability or long-term illness/medical condition
  • severe family illness/death
  • attendance at a rural or disadvantaged high school.

Do you attend a Disadvantaged School?

If you are a 2015 Year 12 student attending a school which:

  • has been identified by the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) as among the most socio-economically disadvantaged in the NSW Government sector, or
  • has been identified by DEC as geographically isolated or participating in the Connected Communities program, or
  • was formerly included in the Australian Government's National Partnership for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities Program, or
  • has been identified as comparable to schools in the above categories by the Catholic Education Commission of NSW or
  • is in a town which has a population of less than 10,000 people and is at least 100km from the nearest centre with a population of 10,000 or
  • is in a town which has a population of less than 5,000 people and a distance between 50km and 99km from the nearest centre with a population of 10,000

you do not need to submit an Educational Access Scheme (EAS) application if this is the only Type of Disadvantage you are claiming. UAC will generate an  'electronic' application on your behalf so universities can take this into account when considering you eligiblity for admission. If you want to claim additional Types of Disadvantage (eg. financial, illness) you must lodge an EAS application. To check whether your school is considered under EAS click here.

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 admission rank. 

This means that if you are eligible for the ACCESS Scheme your admission 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 published cut-off 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 closing date for on-time EAS applications for admission in Semester 1 2016 is 30 September 2015. To have your EAS application assessed in time for the Main Round of offers you can submit it to UAC up until Wednesday 6 January 2016 but if you want to know whether you are eligible for consideration before you finalise your preferences for the Main Round make sure you submit your application by 30 November 2015. For Semester 2 admission you need to get your EAS application to UAC no later than Friday 3 June 2016.

On-going support and assistance

UNSW offers a wide range of support programs for students upon enrolment, including:

For further information contact:

Student Equity and Disabilities Unit (SEADU)
+61 2 9385 4734