Fees and funding vary across the UK nations, the information below is relevant for students in England. Students in other UK nations should contact the nation team to find out what financial support is available.
Students serving a sentence of imprisonment can apply to Prisoner’s Education Trust (PET) for funding toward an Open University Access Module through the Steps to Success Scheme if they meet the following requirements:
To qualify for a part time tuition loan from Student Finance England a student needs to be studying at least one undergraduate module worth 30 credits, and they must also be registered on a qualification.
The student will also need to meet residency requirements. Generally on the first day of the first academic year in which their module starts the student must:
For further details regarding a Student Loan from Student Finance England please contact the SiSE Registration Team.
Students may be able to apply to a charity or multiple charities to cover their module costs. However, please be aware that for some charities it may be an eligibility requirement that they are ineligible for a Part-time Tuition Fee Loan from the Student Loans Company
Please note you will need to contact the individual charity for an application. We have included links below to websites for commonly used charities but please feel free to do research into other funding sources
This is published by The Hardman Trust and is available to prisoners and those recently released and allows them access to accurate information on supplementary funding and other forms of financial support that may be available to them
The Longford Trust awards scholarships to young serving and ex-prisoners to go to university to continue their rehabilitation. They consist of financial support and the provision of a trained mentor. Longford Scholars study at all UK universities across the full range of subjects. Our Patrick Pakenham Awards are specifically for those reading Law and our Nat Billington Scholarships for those doing Computer Science. The Frank Awards are for serving prisoners wanting to undertake Open University modules but unable to pay the fees
The Open University Students Educational Trust (OUSET) is the student charity where funds raised by students are used to benefit students in financial hardship. It is a separate registered charity operated by the OU Students Association
Students are able to self-fund their studies.
Once they have made a reservation on their chosen module they will then need to pay the prison and the prison will need to raise a cheque through HM Paymaster General (or equivalent) payable to the Open University and send this along with the registration documents.
If a third party such as a relative or other acquaintance would like to fund a learner in prison’s study, the best way to do this would be for them to pay the prison and the prison to raise a cheque through HM Paymaster General (or equivalent).
We may be able to accept payment directly form the third party in some cases via credit/debit card over the phone, cheque, or bank transfer, however we will require approval from the Prison Governor or their appointed representative. Please contact the SiSE Registration Team to enquire further.
All payments will need to be made for the module in full. (In some cases payment can come from multiple sources such as multiple cards or by a mixture of two payment methods).
If the student recently served as a member of the British Armed Forces then they may be eligible to use Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs) to pay for their studies. If the student believes they are eligible please contact the SiSE Registration Team for further information.
We know that sometimes a student may need to pay for their module using a variety of methods. For instance, this could be a mixture of charity funding and third party funding or the student may choose to apply for a loan for only part of their module fee and self-fund the rest. We would encourage you to contact the SiSE Registration Team to discuss how to facilitate this.
If you would like to discuss a potential method of payment not mentioned above, please contact the SiSE Registration Team