Care leavers support

Student support

Attending university is a big change, and we want to support you every step of the way. For care leavers we have support available before your first day, through to graduation and beyond.

What support is available for care leavers?

  • £1000 per year bursary
  • Year-round halls accommodation
  • Pathway plan and careers advice
  • £500 graduation bursary
  • Waived advance fees
  • Priority access to support

Already studying with us?

Our Student Hub has more information about the support you can get based on your personal needs and circumstances.

We offer a range of support, financial aid and services to help all students, with specialist support if you're a care leaver or care experienced.

Who is considered to be a care leaver?

You're considered to be a care leaver if:

  • You're under 25 when you begin your studies
  • You were in the care of the local authority for at least 13 weeks
  • You were in care on your 16th birthday.

If you currently don't meet this criteria, we may have support available for you too — it's possible you may be an estranged student

You can find more support available for your individual needs and circumstances on our support page.

  1. Welcome to Higher Education

    Our Access and Widening Participation team will come out to meet you or you can join us on campus in Preston. We’ll introduce you to higher education, explore ways to finance your studies, explain how to:

    • Apply to university
    • Write a Personal Statement
    • Prepare for university interviews
    • Discuss the dedicated support available to Care Leavers.

    Careers & your future

    Our Careers team will help you come up with an action plan for the future – what courses are available to you, and what they could lead to?

    The careers team can also help you secure part-time work while studying at university, they'll help out with CV and application writing, interview techniques as well as specialist careers support for those with disabilities.

    Student life

    You can also get a flavour of student life before you start, join us for:

    • Workshops, either on campus or within a vocational setting
    • On-campus taster days
    • Summer schools and residential activity

    If you’re struggling to find the money to join us at these events, let us know and we'll be able to help. We have a number of financial support options available for our care leaver students.

  2. Support

    As a care leaver you are entitled to priority access to our specialist support in areas such as finance, accommodation, disability, wellbeing, counselling, safety and mental health.

    We can offer help with your pathway plan by contacting your social worker, or personal advisor if you request this. You'll also be able to access a specialist careers appointment to discuss your career options in the context of your life circumstances in a safe and supportive environment.

    Our Careers Advisers have received specialist training to ensure they support our students according to their specific needs or circumstances. They can help you to explore your future options, whether that’s further study, a graduate level job, an internship, skills-development or even travelling. Look out for our specialist careers support sessions advertised throughout the year.

    female student asking a question at the welcome desk
    Our specialist support teams are readily available for any questions you might have.


    We understand that University can a big financial commitment. We have a number of bursaries available for our care leaver students, as well as plenty of guidance around the cost of living at university.

    Care Leavers are entitled financial assistance worth £1000 per year through our bursary (subject to eligibility).

    If you qualify for the £1000 Bursary, once you graduate, you'll be able to claim an additional Graduation Bursary worth £500.

    Care Leavers who are studying on a Degree Apprenticeship can access a bursary worth £3000 for the duration of studies and is paid in instalments during Year 1.

    high street
    Our campuses are located within some of the most affordable cities in the country.


    If you choose to study with us, year-round halls accommodation is available for all our care leaver students. Let our Student Accommodation Service know you're leaving care and they'll guide you through your options and payment plans.

    You're also entitled to immediate priority accommodation if you find yourself suddenly homeless.

    Contracts are normally for 42 weeks, including the Christmas and Easter breaks. If you need accommodation for the whole year including the summer, this can be arranged.

    To find out more about accommodation offerings across all our campuses, visit our accommodation page.

    For any further questions regarding accommodation, you can submit an enquiry and our friendly team will get back to you.

    Please note that if you are studying a degree apprenticeship with us, you won't have access to how accommodation facilities.

    students walking outside roeburn hall
    Our student halls host a safe & welcoming community, with student services & security available close-by.
  3. 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. Our support team are here to help you throughout your studies and can be accessed when you need them.

    You can find out more about the wide range of support our teams provide on our support page.

STAR programme

Are you an offer holder with a disability, a care leaver, or estranged? Join us on the STAR programme for a taster of university life. With opportunities to stay in our residential halls, and workshops to explore our facilities.

Discover our STAR events

Contact us

Existing students can visit the Student Hub to find out more about the support we can provide and further contact details.

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.

Telephone: +44 (0)1772 893020

Email our wellbeing team

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

Email our admissions team

Care Leaver Covenant

The Care Leaver Covenant is a promise made by the University to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them move from local authority care to living independently.

Read about our commitment

Former SU president Lee Mac tells his story

Our former Students' Union 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 Students' Union 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!”

Related support pages

  • Student support FAQs

    Find answers to common questions about library facilities; blackboard; timetables; our academic calendar and more. Answers cover topics from accessing emails and files from home to seeking specialist help.

  • Cost of living support hub

    We're the most affordable uni in the country according to The Times (2023). Discover how to manage your finances and explore the support available.

  • Estranged students support

    Choosing to go university can be a huge change. For our estranged students, we want to make the transition to university life as easy as possible.