Pathways to Birmingham Eligibility Criteria

Pathways to Birmingham aims to support Year 12 and 13 students, who have little experience of higher education, to decide on the best route for their future. As such, we have set eligibility criteria to ensure we are recruiting priority students who will benefit most from our activity designed to raise aspirations and prepare students for study in higher education.

In order to be eligible for a Pathways to Birmingham programme, applicants must:

  • Currently attend a Pathways to Birmingham partner school[1] and have attended a non-selective state school while completing their GCSEs


  • Has had experience of public care[2]

Or meet at least two of the following:

  • Live in a low progression area[3]
  • Be in the first generation of their immediate family to attend higher education[4]
  • Have a household income that is below the national average (below £42,875)[5]
  • Have experienced significant extenuating circumstances that has had (or is having) a detrimental impact on academic attainment[6]
  • Have a disability and be in receipt of a personal independence payment[7]
  • Be a young carer[8]
  • Be estranged from parents or guardians[9]

 If you have any questions about the Pathways to Birmingham eligibility criteria, please contact the A2B team who will be happy to assist you with your query. Students should include their home postcode and their current school/college in the subject line of their email enquiry.

[1] Typically a school or college in the greater West Midlands that achieves below the national average. NASS students must attend a non-selective state school with a high proportion of free school meals and/ or in inner-city areas.

[2] Experience of public care is defined as currently being looked after by a local authority, foster parents/other family members, at home with their parents under the supervision of social services, in a residential children’s home or in another residential setting such as school or secure unit, or someone who has experienced a period of three months in the care of the local authority within the last ten years.

[3] Measured by POLAR3 or POLAR4 young participation quintile 1 or 2. Consideration will be given to applicants from underrepresented groups who live in a quintile 3 area. To check your postcode, visit the Office for Students postcode look-up. Your postcode should be assessed as 1 or 2 under the first or last boxes for ‘young participation’ as shown below:

Postcode look up

 [4] Includes degrees achieved in the UK or abroad but excludes degrees achieved during the applicant’s secondary or further education. Whether your siblings or cousins went to university is not taken into consideration.

 [5] An annual household income should be judged before tax. Support on what classifies can be found on the Student Finance England . We may give additional consideration to applicants with very low household incomes eg those in receipt of free school meals, 16-19 Bursary Fund or Discretionary Learner Support relating to financial hardship. 

[6] Extenuating circumstances that affect exams or likelihood of going to university will be considered on an individual basis and must be verified by a teacher or advisor. A moderation board will ensure consistency across programmes.

[7] Students should be in receipt of a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the 'enhanced' rate in either the 'daily living' and 'mobility' components OR the 'standard' rate in both components.

[8] Young carers are defined as under the age of 18 who help look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. There is no time limit on the amount of care they provide for their dependents, this is just above and beyond what is normally expected.

[9] Defined as a young person who has no communicative relationship with either of their biological parents/legal guardians and who does not expect this situation to be reconciled. This must be verified by a teacher or adviser.