Many school and college leavers with ambitions to progress to higher education continue to run into unnecessary barriers, a survey has found.
Inadequate financial support, bureaucracy and confusion over qualifications emerged as the most common obstacles to access in the survey by the Association of Colleges.
The AoC warned that although the problems may appear to be only "glitches" in the system, they were setting up barriers for the kind of students the government has said universities and colleges should be making more effort to recruit.
Examples in the survey include: a dyslexic student denied assessment for a disability allowance because she already had a bursary for her nursing course; a student whose access course qualification was not recognised by a professional body; and school-leavers with borderline GCSEs denied further study by schools that are trying to protect their A-level league table positions.
Susan Hayday, the AoC's curriculum manager, said the survey showed that financial support continues to be the biggest barrier to access.