Find out about our undergraduate service to providers and members.
When to apply
You can apply to join UCAS at any time.
On average, it takes 12 weeks to join UCAS, from the point of application to set up on systems. We advise contacting us in advance of submitting your application to discuss your needs so we can ensure you benefit from the support through the process, and training on offer to maximise your experience of joining as a customer.
Criteria to join the scheme
Accessing UCAS Undergraduate scheme products and services is open to any higher education provider who can demonstrate that they:
- have sufficient legal and financial status to demonstrate the ability to support the delivery of full-time undergraduate programmes to students
- deliver validated or accredited, quality assured teaching and learning for one or more full-time undergraduate-level programme(s) leading to a 'target' award at first degree, foundation degree (FD), Dip HE/Cert HE or HND/C level, with a UK source of validation or accreditation
- if they recruit international students, the provider is listed on the Home Office Tier 4 Sponsor Register
- are listed on the Office for Students (OfS) register of recognised or listed bodies
- OR if not listed on the OfS register, in addition the provider:
- must be in a sub-contractual relationship where all the provider’s HE courses are being delivered on behalf of an OfS registered provider and/or are a QAA member
- must also have had a satisfactory quality assurance review within the last two years.
As a customer of the scheme, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service (319.3 KB) including:
- acting in accordance with our application and recruitment policy’s business rules and admissions principles
- In order to provide a fair, transparent and comprehensive process for applicants and the sector, UCAS expects customers to list and recruit all eligible full-time undergraduate applicants through UCAS, identifying UCAS as the main application route on their website and in any marketing materials.
- The standard application route should be used to recruit applicants in most cases. The Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA) can be used according to exemptions listed in the Admissions Guide but must only be used in applicants’ best interests and must never be used in order to curtail student choice.
- Customers must consider all applications for each course on an equal basis, if they are received on or before the relevant equal consideration deadline.
- Customers must not ask applicants where else they have applied until the applicant has replied to all offers made to them. Application choices to other providers will remain invisible until the applicant’s replies have been recorded.
- Customers must use and update UCAS as the authoritative source of information on the status of an application submitted through UCAS systems.
- Customers must transmit the type of offer, any academic conditions, any other conditions which could result in a conditional offer becoming unconditional, subsequent decision/offer amendments, and Confirmation decisions to the applicant using UCAS systems.
- Offers must clearly distinguish between those offer conditions which must be met to enrol on the programme of study, and those which are not a enrolment requirement (such as those that give priority access to services, or change the type of offer prior to the receipt of examination results).
- Once an offer is made to an applicant, the terms of the offer should only be changed with the applicant’s permission if the change would impose additional or more stringent conditions on the applicant.
- Customers must not ask applicants to reply to offers before the normal reply date, regardless of when the offer was made, unless the course starts before 1 September. Requesting early replies in return for benefits (e.g. priority access to accommodation) is not permitted. Even where courses start before 1 September, providers must allow applicants a reasonable period of time to consider their options and respond.
- Customers must make decisions about applications by the relevant published reject by default date, otherwise UCAS will reject the application (RBD).
- Customers must only communicate with applicants for reasonable purposes and must not seek to overturn or inappropriately influence their decisions. A customer must not approach an applicant who is holding a firm or insurance place at another customer unless:
- the applicant has requested the contact (noting that where contact is requested by an applicant, customers should keep a written record)
- the applicant has declined an offer with that customer and the customer is seeking feedback (noting that customers should keep a written record of such contact, and must not use it in-cycle as a means of persuading applicants to change their decisions).
- Customers should not reject an applicant at Confirmation if they still have outstanding or missing conditions until either the standard deadline, or a deadline published by the customer in the offer, unless the applicant is unable to reach the terms of their offer based on the information already received.
- If customers wish to receive examination results early they must sign the results embargo agreement and complete UCAS embargo training. There must be no disclosure, discussion or communication with applicants or other third parties before results are published.
- Upon reasonable written notice, Customers must provide UCAS with correct, accurate and up to date information (for example about applicants, acceptances and acceptance routes) as soon as is reasonably practicable. UCAS shall have the right to access, copy and review any such information provided by the Customer as necessary in order to verify adherence to terms of service. Any such review shall be undertaken in close cooperation with the Customer and shall not unreasonably interfere with the Customer’s normal business operations. UCAS shall not be responsible for any costs incurred by the Customer in cooperating with such a review.
- Customers must inform UCAS immediately when they become aware of a security incident which has or may be likely to impact on customer systems with access to applicant data and has the potential to affect UCAS systems and services. This includes (but is not limited to) the loss or theft of credentials used to access UCAS systems or any other security incident affecting customer IT systems which may cause a direct impact to UCAS. UCAS will then assess the impact and any restrictions required (including whether it is necessary to temporarily suspend access to some or all of its systems to you) while the incident is managed; and will work with the customer to reinstate access as soon as practicably possible once assurances of system integrity have been provided and deemed acceptable by UCAS. This will enable UCAS to ensure the safety and security of applicant data. If you become aware of a security incident, please contact the Customer Success Team on 0344 984 1111.
- Customers must show consistency, fairness, and the avoidance of bias in the consideration of all applications and the use of contextual information.
- Entry requirements and offer-making strategies must be evidence-based, and designed to recruit students with the potential to succeed on their programme of study.
- Customers must support the provision of clear, current, and transparent information, including listing opportunities for study on the UCAS search tool.
- The types of offers made for commonly presented qualifications must be listed on the UCAS search tool, including indicating at customer level the circumstances in which an offer may be made that is different to the published typical offer (for example, contextual offers).
- All offer conditions must be clear, unambiguous, and within an applicant’s control to meet.
- Customers must let applicants know why they need any additional information they have requested, and provide them with a reasonable deadline for supplying it. If the deadline must be short because of a UCAS or other (e.g. UKVI) deadline, then a customer will let the applicant know why.
- Applicants should be given reasonable notice of any interview, audition, or additional assessment (either in person or electronically). If short notice must be given because of a UCAS or other deadline, then customers will explain this to the applicant.
- Customers should give reasonable consideration to applicant requests for flexibility outside the standard dates and deadlines.
- Customers must not place undue pressure (i.e. that which is not in the applicant’s best interests) in order to directly or indirectly influence an applicant’s decision.
- Customers should take note of relevant sector good practice guidelines, such as the Universities UK (UUK) Code of Practice and the QAA Quality Code.
- Support the provision of clear, current, and transparent information, including listing opportunities for study on the UCAS search tool
- List and recruit all eligible full-time undergraduate applicants through UCAS, identifying UCAS as the main application route on their website and in any marketing materials
- Take note of relevant sector good practice guidelines, such as the Universities UK (UUK) Code of Practice and the QAA Quality Code
- Adhere to the requirements in the Admissions Guide– in particular, decision-making deadlines
- Ensure data security measures exist in line with ISO 2700 criteria, and employees, contractors and agents comply with the Data Protection Act principles
- Operate within information security standards ISO/IEC 27001
Meeting UCAS' data standards (956.66 KB).
Application and joining fee
There is a £1,000 non-refundable application fee payable when we receive your application. This is deducted from the balance of your joining fee if your application is successful.
There is a one-off fee to join UCAS as a customer. This is assessed during the consideration of your application and is based on the predicted number of applicants placed with you in your first admissions cycle as a customer.
The joining fees range from £7,000 to £25,000, plus VAT.
If your application is successful, you will be invoiced for the full amount (minus the application fee paid). Full access to systems and training will be given once the joining fees are paid.
The application process
The onboarding process and timescales
On average, it takes 12 weeks to join UCAS, from the point of application to set up on systems.
On receipt of your application, there is an initial review of the information received against our eligibility criteria, and completion of finance checks:
For OfS registered providers
Providers who are listed on the Office for Students register will have their application fast tracked through the initial review which is a cross-referenced assessment of UCAS’ onboarding principles and the OfS registration conditions.
For providers who are not OfS registered
Providers based outside England, and English providers who have not obtained OfS registration or are in the process of doing so, will be asked to supply evidence to satisfy all elements of the criteria listed.
Both routes following a similar process:
- Application submitted, including requested evidence
- Review of application against eligibility criteria
- Financial assessment undertaken
- Visit or meeting
- Online due diligence checks and approval process
- Application outcome communicated
Annual fees for customers
Customers of UCAS pay an annual ’capitation fee’ for our support and services. The fee is charged per cycle, regardless of when a provider joins UCAS.
Fees are charged based on the number of applicants ‘placed’ with a provider by the close of each admissions cycle. The fees are charged per applicant, with a minimum fee applicable for smaller providers.
The capitation fee is invoiced twice a year – 60% in August, and the remaining 40% in February.
Fees for the 2023 UCAS Undergraduate and Conservatoire admissions cycle are:
Per applicant: £33.20 (including VAT)
Minimum charge: £3,600 (including VAT)
Your obligations as a customer
To take full advantage of the benefits of working with us, there is the expectation UCAS providers will:
- cooperate with us in all matters relating to the services, and participate, wherever possible, in meetings of members and partners
- keep all key contact details up to date
- operate within information security standards ISO/IEC 27001
- make sure course and provider data is complete, accurate, and up to date
- ensure data security measures exist in line with ISO 2700 criteria, and employees, contractors and agents comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 principles
- adhere to the requirements in the Admissions Guide for the applicable year of entry – in particular, decision-making deadlines
- adhere to the UCAS Applications Recruitment Policy – recruiting exclusively through UCAS for all full-time programmes of study culminating in an academic award at first degree or other undergraduate level
All providers wishing to join the service will also be required to meet UCAS's data standards.
Membership of UCAS
Once you have been a customer of UCAS for two cycles, you may be eligible to apply to become a UCAS member if you meet the following criteria:
- Provide HE with a source of UK validation
- Have full membership of one of UCAS’ recognised sector bodies (i.e., UUK, Guild HE, the Association of Colleges, or Universities Scotland)
- Use UCAS’ core service for undergraduate admissions
- Accept in excess of 100 undergraduate students per annum (based on a three-year rolling average) or such other levels of acceptance as are reasonably agreed by UCAS from time-to-time
As a legal UCAS member of UCAS, you have the right to attend and vote at future AGMs, enabling you to have your say on decisions relating to and affecting UCAS’ governance framework.
There are no additional costs associated with becoming a UCAS member. However, as with members of other incorporated charities, you would have limited liability for the Company (up to a maximum of £1) towards the payment of UCAS’ debts and liabilities in the event of it being wound up.
Ready to apply?
Having read the information relevant for potential new customers, if you are ready to apply, please complete your application with the information required.
Join the UCAS undergraduate scheme
If you have any further questions prior to submitting your application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org