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Eligibility criteria explained

Learn what our eligibility criteria mean to help you understand if you can register for the ACES and Reach programmes. If you are still unsure if you meet any of our criteria, contact us.

Eligibility based on your home postcode 

Use our Excel postcode checker to see if you are eligible to register for the ACES and Reach  programmes based on your home postcode. 

ACES and Reach Edinburgh postcode checker 

  1. Download and open the Excel spreadsheet.

  2. Type your postcode into the ‘Enter your postcode’ field and press enter/return on your keyboard.

  3. You are eligible if:

    • your SIMD quintile shows as 1 or 2 or

    • your urban/rural classification is between 4 and 8

Having trouble getting the spreadsheet to work? 

If you get an error message when you try to open the spreadsheet, please download the file with the link that might show at the top of the screen or try a different browser. 

You might need to enable editing to add your postcode. In this case you will see a message and a button at the top of the screen. 

Postcodes introduced after the latest updates of the Scottish Government’s classifications might not be included in our checker: 

  • for SIMD quintiles, we use the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) measure, which was updated in 2020

  • for remote/rural classification, we use the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification, which was updated in February 2022

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 

Scottish Government’s Urban Rural Classification 

If you have any issues checking your postcode, please get in touch and we can do this for you. 

Email ACES Edinburgh (for art, design and architecture)

Email Reach Edinburgh (for law, medicine and veterinary medicine)

Care experience 

Care experience means that you have spent time in care at any stage of your life.  

Care may have been provided in a number of settings, such as: 

  • residential care

  • foster care

  • kinship care

  • care before an adoption

  • looked after at home with a supervision requirement

Young carer 

If you are a young carer, you are looking after a friend or family member, who cannot cope without your unpaid support due to: 

  • illness

  • disability

  • mental health conditions

  • addiction

Estranged from your family 

If you are estranged from your family, you do not have the financial or emotional support of your family due to a breakdown in the relationship. 

Low income 

If you live in a low-income household, you are eligible for the ACES and Reach programmes. Low-income households typically receive one of or more of the following types of support: 

  • free school meals (FSM)

  • Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

  • state benefits for low-income households

Challenging circumstances 

We are committed to supporting young people whose education has been impacted by challenging circumstances. 

We will review recommendations from school staff on a case-by-case basis. Such recommendations should describe the impact of challenging circumstances on your educational experience and opportunities. 

Examples of challenging circumstances affecting your learning experience may include:  

  • disability or severe illness

  • mental health conditions

  • lack of educational opportunities within relevant subject areas

  • sexual or gender identity

  • bereavement

  • belonging to an ethnic minority group

Inform us of challenging circumstances

Submit a registration form, and ask a teacher or staff member from your school to email us a brief outline of your individual challenging circumstances and how these impact on your education. 

We will review the documentation and inform you of the outcome within two weeks.

ACES (for art, design and architecture)

Register for ACES Edinburgh 

Email ACES Edinburgh 

Reach (for law, medicine and veterinary medicine)

Register for Reach Edinburgh 

Email Reach Edinburgh 

Unsure if you meet the criteria? 

If you are unsure whether you meet any of our criteria, contact us directly, and we will be happy to help you. 

Email ACES Edinburgh 

Email Reach Edinburgh 


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Contact us through an online sign language interpreter

British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact the University of Edinburgh via Contact Scotland BSL, the online British Sign Language video relay interpreting service.

Find out more on the Contact Scotland BSL website