Most prisoners who study Higher Education (HE) in custody do so through the Open University (OU). Prior to September 2012, the costs of prisoners’ tuition were met from public funds in an arrangement that broadly mirrored the Grant arrangements for other part-time HE students. From September 2012, prisoners have been required to take out, and then repay, Tuition Fee loans in the same way as other learners.
The OU’s additional costs for delivering in custody are met through a Grant from the Department. Table 1 below shows a breakdown of grant payments in each of the last 10 years.
The costs of providing prison university education are found from a variety of sources and gathering the data could only be undertaken at disproportionate cost.
Table 2 gives a breakdown of the number of prisoners studying towards an Open University degree whilst in prison in each of the last 10 years. There may be a very small number of prisoners, each year, who will have commenced HE with Universities other than the OU whilst on Release on Temporary Licence. We have no central data on these learners and therefore they are not included in the figures.
BIS Grant payments to the Open University for additional costs for delivering OU learning in custody from 2005-06
Amount of Grant (£000s)
* where indicated, the table shows available data on Grant funding drawn down rather than Grant available.
Number of prisoners studying towards an Open University degree whilst in prison from 2004/05
OU students (new and continuing)
Information supplied by the Open University