University tuition fees are paid by student loan, at the same rates as mainstream students, arranged via Student Finance England (SFE), although there is currently a limit of eligibility to those people within six years of their release date. 

We are actively lobbying for this “six year rule” to be amended. This policy note published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in October 2019 summarises the situation.

Usually tuition fees are in the region of £9250 per year. A student loan will cover all of this cost. You can also get a maintenance loan to cover some of your living costs once you are released, but this is not available when you are studying in prison.

You only start repaying the loan once you have finished studying and you are in a job where you earn over a certain amount (currently £26,575 per year). The size of your monthly repayments will depend on how much you earn, not what you owe. So if you earn £27,000 you will repay about £40 a year. If you earn £35,000 you will repay about £800 a year.

There is more information about how student loans work on the Money Saving Expert site.


We can help with student loan applications.

Some grant funding is also available to help with study costs and we can advise on this too.

More information is available from The Hardman Trust

External Agencies

We work closely with other external groups who operate in this field, who already have records of success and whose work links with but does not overlap with ours : 

  • Longford Trust, a charity with a core commitment to prison reform and to second chances for prisoners, offering grants and mentor support to students in prison.
  • Prisoners’ Education Trust, a well-established prison education charity, which gives people in prison the tools to transform their lives through learning.
  • Unlock, a charity which provides a voice and support for people with convictions who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record, often long after they have served their sentence.
  • Prisoner Learning Alliance, a network of organisations and individuals with expertise in prison education.
  • Prison Reform Trust, a charity which informs and influences public debate on prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners.
  • Ex-Seed, an employment agency and recruitment network which places ex-offenders into stable employment and supports them to enjoy crime-free and fulfilling lives.