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Support for Care Leavers & Estranged Students at UCLan

Are you a Care Leaver?

The decision to attend university is a big one for anyone – more so if you don’t have family support. If you’re in or leaving care, our dedicated team will help you decide whether higher education – and UCLan – is right for you and your future.

Talk to our dedicated Care Leaver Advisor, Geraldine Dickinson, who specialises in Care Leaver Support. She’ll be happy to arrange a one-to-one appointment with you to talk through the support we offer. Geraldine, with the support of our Wellbeing team, will guide you through every aspect of University life, and refer you to the right people where appropriate. She can also make contact with your Social Worker and help with your pathway plan if you request this. You can contact Geraldine by emailing or telephoning 01772 893020 with any questions you may have.

We can also offer support and guidance if you are estranged from your parents, in particular we can help you with your application to Student Finance England if you are finding it difficult to prove your estrangement. Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network, if you think this describes your situation, but you are not sure, please contact us and we can arrange a confidential appointment.

More information can be found on our factsheets which are available to download:


How do I tell the University that I am a Care Leaver?

  • On your UCAS application
  • When you enrol
  • By contacting the team directly at or on 01772 893020
  • By contacting any member of teaching staff
  • By contacting your Course Administration Service - Support Hub
  • Using Starfish, the student communication and engagement system
  • By contacting staff at The <i>, the Student Information Centre
  • If you are applying to UCLan and are thinking about coming to an open day / applicant day or other pre-entry event and think you may find it difficult to attend, please contact us to discuss it as we may be able to help.


What happens then?

  • We will send you an email inviting you to provide evidence that you are a Care Leaver. If you are not able to supply this evidence, contact who will be able to offer advice.
  • You will be invited to attend a wellbeing assessment to establish eligibility to financial and other support. This can either be in person or by telephone appointment.
  • If applicable, you will be asked for your consent to share information with your local authority to confirm your attendance.
  • As part of the process of arranging your support, you can tell us who you want us to share this information with, so that we can put you in touch with other university services that can help you make the most of your time at university. 


What support is available whilst I am studying?

Care Leaver / Estranged Student Bursary

UCLan recognises that you may need some additional financial support as a care leaver or an estranged student, therefore we offer bursaries to students who meet the criteria worth £1000 per year. This is in addition to the funding from Student Finance England (or other UK funding body), UCLan Financial Bursary support for students from low income households or the Hardship Fund. Applications for the Care Leavers / Estranged student Bursary are made online and applicants must provide evidence as requested.
The Care Leaver Bursary is worth £1000 per year.

In order to qualify for a Care Leaver / Estranged Student Bursary, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • UK Home student
  • Enrolled on a full-time, undergraduate UCLan programme at a UCLan campus
  • Care Leaver - defined as in care for at least 13 weeks, spanning your 16th birthday OR assessed as estranged from your parents
  • Under 25 on the first day of the academic year of starting current course of study.
  • Studying on an eligible course - some courses e.g. Degree apprenticeship programmes are not eligible – full details on eligibility criteria can be found here

The bursary is assessed on an individual basis and will be paid as lump sum as soon as your application is finalised.

If you would like to apply for support and the Bursary, please click on the following link, you will need to use your UCLan Log-in details:

Application for Care Leaver and Estranged Student Support and Bursary


Careers Support

The Careers team offer Specialist Careers Support appointments which are designed to ensure that should you wish to discuss your career options in the context of your life circumstances, you can do so in a safe and supportive environment.

For final year students that have accessed support from the Care Leaver Bursary, the Careers team offer £100 as a ‘one off’ payment which can help support your progress to the next stage, be that work or further training, by funding a new interview outfit, travel costs for interviews or other work-related expenses.

In order to access this payment, you would need to book an appointment to see one of our Careers Advisers. During the appointment, there will be the opportunity to discuss your plans and ideas and see if there is anything additional Careers can help with, such as: looking for jobs or further study options, application forms, interview tips, volunteering or travel options, all of which can be discussed to offer reassurance about the future.

What other Support could you receive?

In addition to financial and careers support, students who declare they are Care Leavers to Student Services are supported in a number of ways, for example:

  • Providing access to specialist staff who can support them throughout their time at university.
  • UCLan has a range of accommodation options. If you are considering staying in Halls, you should inform the Accommodation office to discuss options and payment plans.
  • Contracts are normally for 42 weeks, including Christmas and Easter vacations, however if accommodation is required during the summer vacation, this can be arranged.
  • Year-long accommodation, plus immediate priority accommodation for those who find themselves suddenly homeless, can be arranged. We also waive accommodation deposits, and the requirement for a guarantor, for Care Leavers in recognition of the financial difficulties often faced.

Please email for more details of the support you could receive or take a look at the information on our factsheets which are available to download:


UCLan has taken the Stand Alone pledge, to show that we are committed to improving support for estranged students in four key areas, and are 100% behind the student journey, from entry to graduation.
The Stand Alone Pledge aims to change outcomes for estranged students, facilitating the development of better services to support them with their unique struggles.