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  3. Methods of Funding Study

Methods of Funding Study

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. 

Access Module Funding - Steps to Success (Prisoner's Education Trust)

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:

  • be serving a sentence of imprisonment in the UK
  • be ordinarily resident in England or Wales (time spent in prison does not count towards your residency)
  • be a UK national or have settled status in the UK under the terms of the Immigration Act 1971
  • have not completed any more than one year on a full-time undergraduate programme at NQF Level 4 or above or completed 30 credits or more of OU study
  • have authorisation from the Prison Governor or his/her appointed representative to study an Access module
  • have an earliest release date that is within eight years of the first day of the first academic year of their Access Module

Please note

Part-time Tuition Fee Loan – Undergraduate study (Level 1 - Level 3)

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.

Further eligibility:

  • Students must be studying at least one 30 credit module within their academic year
  • Be studying toward a qualification and starting their current module on or after 1st September 2012
  • Have not already achieved a qualification that is equal to or higher than the level of qualification they are applying for. (However students may be eligible for a loan for some qualifications, even if they already have a degree. Please contact the Students in Secure Environments Registration Team for further information)
  • Be serving a sentence of imprisonment in the United Kingdom. (Theses regulations are for England and cover English prisoners held in jail in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  They do not cover Welsh, Scottish and N.Irish students in English jails where different regulations apply).
  • Have an earliest release date which is within 6 years of the first day of the first academic year of the current course
  • Have not previously had a fee/course grant from the Student Loans Company
  • Or are not behind with repayments to the Student Loans Company or have ever received overpayments with any previous support from the Student Loans Company

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:

  • Be a UK national or have ‘settled status; in the UK (under the terms of the Immigration Act 1971)
  • Be ‘ordinarily resident’ in England (time spent in prison does not count towards your residency)
  • Have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before starting the module – and not wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education (time spent in prison does not count toward this 3 year period)

If the student gets a student loan:

  • Repayments will not start until the April four years after the start of the qualification, or the April after they leave the University, or the April after they complete their qualification - whichever is soonest
  • Repayments are based on what the student earns, not what they owe
  • Payments are deducted automatically from the student’s salary once they are earning over £26,575
  • Students can pay off the loan early without any penalties
  • If, for any reason there is a balance outstanding after 30 years – the loan will be written off

Please note

For further details regarding a Student Loan from Student Finance England please contact the SiSE Registration Team.

Other methods of Funding

Charitable Trusts/Sponsors

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

 

The Hardman Directory

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

For further information please click this link

The Frank Awards

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

For further information please click this link

Open University Students Education Trust (OUSET)

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

For further information please click this link

 

Self-Funding

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.

 

Funding from a Third Party

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).

 

Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC)

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.

 

Mixed Payments

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.

 

Other

If you would like to discuss a potential method of payment not mentioned above, please contact the SiSE Registration Team

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