How higher education providers can join the UCAS Undergraduate scheme, and details of the support we give at every stage of the application journey.

We pride ourselves in putting our customers at the centre of everything we do. We ensure:

  • higher education providers can easily manage their applications
  • applicants have a smooth admissions process

We support a diverse range of HE providers, and we're committed to supporting and working in partnership with our customers to ensure the right applicants are applying for the right courses, at the right providers.

View the  UCAS Undergraduate Admissions Guide 2021 (4.09 MB) which gives detailed information about the procedures for each stage of the application process. You can also view the Terms of Service (319.3 KB) for further information.

The application window runs from 1 September to 1 June for each admissions cycle.

Joining the UCAS Undergraduate scheme

Benefits of the scheme

Being part of our centralised admissions service provides an efficient way of helping universities and colleges to:

  • connect with prospective students
  • advertise their courses
  • receive and manage applications for admission
  • manage interactions with prospective students, schools and colleges and qualification awarding organisations
  • plan and manage their student numbers, accommodation, and student support services
  • complete their statutory reporting
  • ensure that their admissions processes are fair and transparent

Criteria to joining the scheme

Accessing UCAS Undergraduate scheme products and services is open to any higher education provider who can demonstrate that:

  • you 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
  • you are listed on the the Office for Students (OfS) register of recognised or listed bodies
  • you are in a sub-contractual relationship where all your provider’s HE courses are being delivered on behalf of an OfS registered provider and/or you are a QAA member
  • you have sufficient legal and financial status to demonstrate the ability to support the delivery of full-time undergraduate programmes to students
  • if you recruit international students, your provider is listed on the Home Office Tier 4 Sponsor Register

Application process

There are two application routes for educations provider looking to join the UCAS Undergraduate scheme.

1. Fast track

Providers who are listed on the Office for Students register will qualify for the ‘fast track’ application process which is a cross-referenced assessment of UCAS’ onboarding principles and the OfS registration conditions. Providers will be asked to provide financial information to demonstrate they have sufficient legal and financial status to demonstrate the ability to support the delivery of full-time undergraduate programmes to students.

2. Standard

Providers based outside England, and English providers who have not obtained OfS registration or are in the process of doing so, will follow the ‘standard application process’ and will be asked to supply evidence to satisfy all elements of the criteria listed above.

Both routes following a similar process:

1. Submit application form 

  • include evidence requested (standard)

2. Review of application

  • against eligibility criteria (standard)

3. Financial assessment undertaken

4. Recommendation made to UCAS Executive

5. Application outcome communicated

Joining fee

There is a one-off initial fee to join the UCAS Undergraduate scheme.  The fee is assessed during your application process on a sliding scale, based on the predicted number of applicants who will be placed with you in the first year of working with us. For you to plan ahead, our fees range from £7,000 to £25,000, plus VAT. 

If your application is accepted, you will be invoiced for the full amount  prior to being given access to list your courses in our search tool. There is a £1,000 non-refundable deposit payable on application. This is deducted from the balance of your joining fee invoice, if your application is successful.

Capitation fee

The capitation fees for the 2022 UCAS Undergraduate admissions cycle will be as follows:

  Capitation fee Minimum charge

Price incl. VAT

£32.60 £3,600
Price excl. VAT £27.17 £3,000
Change +0.77% No change

The capitation fee is invoiced twice a year – 60% in August, and the remaining 40% in February.

Your obligations

To take full advantage of the benefits of working with us, there's 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' data standards (349.68 KB) and UCAS' marketing services data standards (256.65 KB)

Membership of UCAS

Once you have been a UCAS customer for two cycles, you may be eligible to become a UCAS member if you meet the following criteria:

  1. provide HE with a source of UK validation
  2. have full membership of one of UCAS’ recognised sector bodies (i.e. UUK, Guild HE, Association of Colleges, Universities Scotland)
  3. use UCAS’ core service for undergraduate admissions
  4. 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, 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.

UCAS schemes

As well as offering a shared application service for undergraduate HE applications, we also have partnership arrangements with:

  • conservatoires
  • providers of postgraduate study 

UCAS Conservatoires provides the facilities to research and apply for practice-based music, dance and drama courses at eight of the UK conservatoires. Find out more about UCAS Conservatoires .