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
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 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
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 2024 UCAS Undergraduate admissions cycle are:
Per applicant: £33.80 (including VAT)
Minimum charge: £3,600 (including VAT)
Fees for the 2025 UCAS Undergraduate admissions cycle are:
Per applicant: £35.25 (including VAT)
Minimum charge: £3,755 (including VAT)
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.
- 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.
Having read the information relevant for potential new customers, if you are ready to apply, please complete your application with the information required.
If you have any further questions prior to submitting your application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org