Who we are

Starting university can be an exciting prospect, but also a daunting one, especially if you're leaving care. So to help you settle in, we've developed a guidance and support package tailored for you.

Our care leaver support is coordinated by Anne McGrath, our Care Leaver Adviser/Co-ordinator, who is based in Student Advice and here to provide confidential guidance and support to you throughout your studies.

University of Westminster, Harrow Campus. A male, on the left (semi profile) showing something on a paper to a female student - close-up

How we can help

How do we define a care leaver?

We define a care leaver as a young person who has been in local authority care, including public care, foster care, semi-independent living or residential care homes.

We're committed to supporting care leavers by:

  • working with looked-after young people to help increase the number of care leavers entering higher education
  • raising awareness of the needs of students from care
  • enabling care leavers to make the most of their time in higher education and to complete their courses successfully
  • helping higher education providers to identify how best to support care leavers
  • contributing to a national framework to assist Local Authorities to fulfil their obligations to care leavers

Types of support

We offer a variety of support to care leavers and have provided details of a few key areas below.

For detailed information about all the support available, download our information sheet for care leavers below.

When you arrive

At the beginning of each academic year, our Care Leaver Adviser will invite you to a meeting to explain the range of support that's available and will also send you seasonal newsletters and emails throughout the academic year.

Student accommodation

As a care leaver, you'll be given priority consideration for 365 days per year university student Hall accommodation throughout your studies. 

Make sure that you ask for a letter from your Leaving Care team to confirm that you're a care leaver and require accommodation.

For more details, get in touch with our Student Accommodation team.

Tutorial support

University tutors can provide additional support – speak to your personal tutor.

If you'd like help speaking with your tutor, get in touch with Anne McGrath using the contact details at the bottom of this page. 

Financial support

Care Leavers' Bursary

If you're a home student from the UK, you can apply for a university Care Leavers’ Bursary for each year of academic study. It’s worth £750 each year. You must provide evidence from your Local Authority that you are a care leaver. You ust be enrolled on your course first before you apply.

To apply, get in touch with our Student Funding team at .

Accommodation scholarships

We have a partnership with the Unite Foundation, which offers a number of full accommodation scholarships for care leavers and estranged students.

Accommodation scholarships for 20/21 academic year have now been fully allocated.

However, the scholarship cycle for 2021/22 is currently suspended while the Unite Foundation responds and absorbs the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on their scholarship students and university partners.

For more details, get in touch with Anne McGrath, one of our student advisers – contact details are provided below.

You can also find out more about the scholarship on the​ Unite Foundation website.

University Scholarships

If you are considering postgraduate study, you may be eligible for a scholarship, such as the Postgraduate Care Leaver Scholarship.

To find out, get in touch with our Scholarships team on at [email protected].

Managing your money

Our Financial Capability Adviser, Laura Wood can help you organise and manage your finances. 

Contact Laura at [email protected].

Employability support

If you need help finding work or exploring careers, get in touch with Edmund Lewis in our Career and Employability Service at [email protected].

Further support

contact us

Call our dedicated team and Anne McGrath, Care Leaver Adviser on:

+44 (0)20 7911 5000 ext 66080

[email protected]