Originally called The National Residential College for Women, the college was established in 1920, and has always been a residential college solely for the education of adult women. The college was intended to be a female equivalent to Ruskin College in Oxford. In this regard, Hillcroft college is unique in the British further education sector. The college is owned and operated by the Hillcroft Charitable Trust.
Hillcroft College offers a range of courses including basic Literacy, Numeracy and IT studies, ESOL programmes and Access courses. The college also offers specialised courses for dyslexic learners.