The UCAS Tariff is a means of allocating points to post-16 qualifications, based on a simple mathematical model which uses a qualification size and grading scale to generate a total number of points.
How to work out Tariff points for Access to HE Diplomas

The main purpose of the Tariff is to provide a broad metric for qualifications at Level 3/SCQF Level 6 to support university and college management information needs. All universities and colleges use the UCAS Tariff for submitting data returns to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Some universities and colleges will continue to use the Tariff as a tool to set their entry requirements and make offers. Currently, one third of courses in the UCAS search tool have a Tariff entry requirement. Students should always check individual course requirements.

The video above is aimed at mature applicants, and covers how the Access to HE Diploma works in terms of Tariff points.

Useful information

While the Tariff is a simple metric based on a qualification’s size and grading structure, each qualification has a digital Qualification Information Profile (QIP), which provides important contextual information about a qualification. The QIPs were designed by universities and colleges as part of the Tariff review, and to complement the Tariff. The QIPs aim to provide key objective, comparable information in a consistent format, that can be easily used by universities and colleges to compare qualifications, and to inform admissions decisions.

The QIPs include a range of information, such as size, grading, assessment, structure, and content. They replace Qualification Guides, and include updates to our UK benchmark, EU, and international 2015 QIPs, and additional UK, EU, and international qualifications. UK QIPs include vocational qualifications, and some key Level 1/2 qualifications – such as current GCSEs and reformed GCSEs – for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Take a look at the QIPs section on our guides and resources page for more information.

We would like to know if QIPs are a helpful resource. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please email Ben Jordan, Senior Policy and Qualifications Manager, at [email protected].

The following documents have been designed for you and your colleagues to use.

  1. Fast facts about the UCAS Tariff.
  2. Factsheets — for you to use with your  colleagues students, and their  parents. We also have an  editable factsheet (39.4 KB) that you can add your own logo and details to.
  3. The Tariff points calculator – updated every year with qualifications that have been added to the UCAS Tariff. Our calculator provides an indicative guide to students of the total number of points allocated to their qualification(s).
  4. Tariff tables (1.77 MB) — reference tables summarising the Tariff points.
  5. Tariff qualifications list (436.88 KB) — this technical document shows the size x grade calculation of the Tariff points, against each of the relevant qualifications.
  6. New Tariff toolkit for advisers (4.28 MB) – an overview of why, when, and how the Tariff has changed.
  7. We've also developed resources for students.

Find out how qualifications are nominated for inclusion on the Tariff, and refer to our handout for more information on how we allocate Tariff points (41.68 KB).

Background to the Tariff

The UCAS Tariff was first introduced in 2001 to help those working in admissions to make comparisons between qualifications. However, both the range of qualifications held by applicants, and the variety of progression routes into HE increased, therefore in 2012, UCAS completed a review of what information universities and colleges, students, and schools and advisers needed about qualifications to facilitate admission to HE. The review identified the needs of admissions teams for more detailed, structured information about qualifications, hence the development of QIPs.

The UCAS Board also decided that a new Tariff should be developed to meet certain design principles. It decided the new Tariff should be a simple metric for data returns, easy to administer, fit for purpose, and allow to add more vocational and international qualifications. This simple mathematical model could still be used by universities and colleges instead of grades in their entry requirements.

After a feedback exercise with the HE sector and secondary education community, and in agreement with the UCAS Board, we launched the Tariff we use today for the 2017 admissions cycle and beyond.

The key points to note are:
  • the Tariff uses an updated methodology
  • all Level 3/SCQF Level 6 qualifications on the legacy Tariff continue to attract points
  • the AS was repositioned as 40% of an A level in light of the qualification regulators' statements regarding the standard of the AS
  • we've produced a full list of qualifications on the legacy Tariff, with an impact assessment to indicate any movement

Tariff points should not have any impact on students' decisions on qualification choices, or their preparation for higher education. Universities and colleges are independent organisations, and each year they decide how to set their entry requirements. If your students want more information on the Tariff, please signpost them to our student Tariff page.

Frequently asked questions about the Tariff


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