Skip to main content


What you need to know, in brief.

  • A criminal record in itself won’t stop you from going to university. Admission will usually depend on the university you are applying to and the type of course you are applying for.
  • If you are applying through UCAS you will only be asked to disclose your criminal record if you are applying for courses leading to a profession or occupation exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (for example teacher, nurse, social worker).
  • The Student Loans Company can cover the cost of tuition fees and living expenses for anybody studying in higher education. You will not be asked to disclose details of your criminal record.
  • As well as numeracy and literacy classes, prison education departments will usually offer a selection of NVQ’s.

Latest news, advice, stories & more from Unlock

View all news and updates
Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

Do you need help & support with an issue you’re facing?

We provide support and advice for people in England and Wales who need guidance with either their own, or someone else’s, criminal record.

Please use the search box to start typing your issue. If you cannot find an answer to your problem then you’ll be given options to contact us directly.

Find out more about the helpline

We want to make sure that our website is as helpful as possible.

Letting us know if you easily found what you were looking for or not enables us to continue to improve our service for you and others.

Was it easy to find what you were looking for?

Thank you for your feedback.

12 million people have criminal records in the UK. We need your help to help them.

Help support us now