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How to apply

The Government and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have published guidance that includes details of the full criteria for each process. Applicants should read the relevant guidance closely before they apply.

We administer the process for the Government, but the Quality Assurance Agency undertakes the detailed assessment and provides advice.

When we receive an application, we will ask the QAA to prepare formal advice to Government. For foundation degree awarding powers (FDAPs), we will also seek information from the Education and Skills Funding Agency on your financial sustainability.

To apply institutions should submit to HEFCE:

  • A letter of application from the Chair of the board of governors
  • A description of your current legal identity, corporate structure and teaching partners. A form is available to download below.

Applications should be emailed to

At the same time applicants should upload to the QAA SharePoint:

  • A critical self-analysis
  • Completed templates
  • Supporting evidence.

Applicants will also need to provide 25 printed copies of the critical self-analysis to the QAA.

In addition, for FDAPs, applicants should submit to the QAA:

  • A letter from your organisation’s validating partner(s)
  • A statement on progression, demonstrating your organisation is promoting clear progression routes for learners wishing to proceed to a course of higher-level study on completion of the foundation degree.
  • Evidence of student consultation.

The QAA website contains more detailed information on the documentation they require, including application templates.

The main application document is the self-analysis. This should describe, analyse and comment clearly on how the institution meets the detailed criteria set out in the Government’s guidance. Applications can be made at any time but should be submitted at least five weeks before the meeting of the Quality Assurance Agency’s Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers (ACDAP) at which you expect your application to be considered. Dates of ACDAP meetings are published on the QAA website.

Page last updated 30 January 2018