Support for Care Leavers going to university

Who can support me with my UCAS application?

Your Pathway Advisor (PA) can:

  • Support you with your applications and ensure that you receive your full entitlements
  • Record your financial arrangements and any holiday accommodation in your Pathway Plan.

The UCAS website offers help on writing your personal statement, completing your application and lots of interactive videos with tips.

Propel provides full information about each Universities support for Care Leavers, as well as inspirational stories from Care-Experienced students.

What help can I get with the cost of going to university?

If you are a Care Leaver and you take a university degree or higher education course, then Positive Futures will support you with:

  • Locating and applying for the right University course
  • Applying for Student Finance and/ or other funding you may be eligible for
  • A one-off Computer Grant for a notepad or lap-top depending on an assessment of need and if not previously accessed – up to £300
  • A bursary of £2000 split into equal payments for every year you attend. This is provided over the period of a two, three or four year course. Depending on the length of the course the £2,000 per course will consist of £1,000 per year (2-year course) £666.67 per year (3 year course) £500 per year (4 year course)
  • Accommodation up to £3000 over academic holidays
  • Liaise with the nominated support worker at the University to ensure you are able to access all the support you need
  • Finding and purchasing books and other things you may need

Depending on your needs, you have the option to be supported by Positive Futures in your Higher Education journey until you reach the age of 25.

Information about general financial support available to Care Leavers can be found via the Student finance pages on the GOV.UK website. This has lots of information as well as being the place to apply. There are downloadable guides that are very good and if needed, your PA, can help you go through these.

How can my University help?

Universities have hardship funds and you could be entitled to extra money from them.

Contact the Student Services Department at your University to find out if you are eligible for these funds. You could receive additional financial support if you are experiencing hardship because you have:

  • Been in care
  • Have a disability
  • Are a student with children

The University will decide whether you are eligible for support. They can give money as either a grant or a loan and in a lump sum or in instalments.

If you have a disability, you can claim additional allowances called Disabled Student Allowances (DSAs).

These cover such things as:

  • Special equipment
  • Helpers
  • Any support you need for your reasonable adjustments

An assessment has to be undertaken before any money is awarded. These allowances are grants not loans, this means you do not pay them back.

You may also be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) depending on how much your disability impacts on your daily living or mobility.

If you are a parent with a child you may be able to apply for additional help for childcare costs. The website and guides will let you know what you can apply for.

Many universities provide additional bursaries to Care Leavers. More information about bursary payments can be found on the Bursaries, scholarships and awards page on the GOV.UK website.

What other support it there?

  • Citizens Advice – can support you with issues around debt and money, including help with debt, budgeting, mortgage problems, rent arrears, banking etc.
  • Money Saving Expert – offers advice on how to save money, including help with banking and savings, utilities and bills, travel and motoring insurance etc.
  • StepChange offers free, impartial and confidential advice to help people deal with their debts.
  • Rees Crisis fund – offers financial support for care leavers in emergency situations for e.g. food, gas/electricity, transport

Getting in touch

For more information or advice, please contact the Positive Futures Team on 01793 466715 or email

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Help for Care Leavers with university costs