Care leavers and estranged students

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, estranged from, or have no living parents, our dedicated team will help you decide whether higher education – and the University of Central Lancashire – is right for you and your future.

We offer a range of support and services to help all students, with specialist support if you are from care or estranged from your parents. We understand that at different stages of your university life you may need different types of support and advice depending on your own individual needs.

Student support

Who is considered a care leaver?

A care leaver is defined as someone who is under 25 when they begin their studies and was in the care of the local authority for at least 13 weeks and they were in care on their 16th birthday.

What are estranged students?

Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Individuals in this position often have no contact at all with their parents, or their parents are no longer living. Whatever their background, it is undoubted these students are some of the most vulnerable young people in our university communities.

We’re on your side before, during and after your studies

Lee Mac

Former SU president Lee Mac tells his story

Our former SU president Lee, left his foster home at 16, which led to him living in social housing, bedsits and local college accommodation.

“There was no support in place, no help to get education, support myself financially, or live day to day. There were times when I rifled through bins. I came to UCLan with 11p in my pocket but they supported me in different aspects of finance and settling in. They also showed me routes that I could take to help myself, such as the bursary funds. Without the support, I probably wouldn’t have stayed at University. Currently, the university and SU are working to make life better for Care Leavers in education. We are offering bursaries to Care Leavers and an inclusive support package helping students before they arrive, and once they are with us, allowing them to get involved with university life.

My advice for any Care Leaver would be to get involved with university and not to be afraid to ask for help – it makes you the person you want to be!”

Let’s get started

There’s a whole team of people waiting to help you start the next chapter of your life – here are some useful contacts to help get the ball rolling.

Dedicated Advisor

Talk to our dedicated Care Leaver Advisor Hannah Small, she’ll be happy to arrange a one-to-one appointment to talk through the support we offer Care Leavers and estranged students.

Telephone: +44 (0)1772 893020 or


Confidential Admissions Advisor

Speak to one of our Admissions Officers, in confidence. They will give you more information if you need financial help to attend one of our taster sessions.

Phone: +44 (0)1772 892444 or



Stand Alone Pledge

We have 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.

Find out more