Care Leavers

What is a Care Leaver?

Group of students with sunset

“The legal definition of a care leaver is a person who has been in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14, including some point at the age of 16 or 17.

Most institutions offer support for care leavers, but some institutions also offer support to ‘care-experienced’ students who have experience of care but who are not covered by this definition.”

(quoted from

Is Higher Education for me?

The Top 10 reasons for care leavers to go to university can be found here:
Top 10 Reasons

Factsheet on how to aim for HE:
How to Aim for HE

Factsheet on the Pathway Plan every Care Leaver should have:
Pathway Plan every Care Leaver should have

UCAS - Advice for Care Leavers:
Supporting Care Leavers Toolkit

What do universities do for Care Leavers?

Many universities offer support for Care Leavers, such as having a specific Care Leaver Adviser who can offer advice and link to a Care Leavers Network.

Financial and accommodation support is also often provided, such as extra bursaries to help fund living costs during the holidays.

Examples of support available are shown below:

Bristol University
Winchester University King Alfred Scholarship for Care Leavers
Bath Spa University

UNITE Foundation offers free accommodation to Care Leavers for the duration of their university course: UNITE Foundation

Financial Support

Care Leavers are eligible for extra financial support from Universities, which is usually non-repayable in the form of a grant. Check with your University choices to find out more.

Care Leavers experiences of University

Watch the videos below to hear about different Care Leavers experiences of University:

Uni Connect Role Models Video - Care Experienced Students
(approx. 4.5 mins long
Exeter University
(approx. 2.5 mins long)
Cambridge University
(approx. 5.5 mins long)