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Care leavers

Explore the extra support you're entitled to at the University of Birmingham. This includes accommodation and financial support, alternative offer opportunities, and help with transitioning from school/college as well as once you're with us.

Deciding to study at university is a big step for anybody. You will be entering a world of new opportunities, new friends and new ways of thinking. At the University of Birmingham, we offer the highest quality academic experience within a supportive environment. But if you are leaving care to come to university we believe that you deserve a little extra support to help you make the right choices, and get the financial help and assistance you’re entitled to. Meaning you can settle in quickly to be able to focus on your studies and enjoy your student experience.

We have been working hard with our current care-experienced students to create a support system which best reflects the requirements. We are a university committed to supporting all students who have had any experience of care and since 2020, we have been a signatory of Care Leavers' Covenant, a national inclusion programme that supports care levers aged 16-25 to live independently.

We are proud to provide support to all the students whose circumstances are reflected below.

We define a care leaver as a young person over the age of 16 who has been in care of the local authority and/or Health and Social Care Trust for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14.

We define a care experience student as an individual who has been in care at any stage in their life, no matter how short a period.

When making your application to any university, we strongly recommend that you tick the box on your UCAS application. This will help identify you to the relevant staff who will then send you information about the support they can offer.

The University of Birmingham welcomes students from all backgrounds including those who have experienced time in care. We understand that the transition from school to university and achieving success at university can be challenging for any student, especially those from backgrounds where there may be less support and guidance available. As an institution, we are committed to supporting care experienced students throughout their journey with us. We provide personalised and friendly pre-entry support, we offer financial assistance to help cover the cost of living at university, we support students with their studies and work to ensure that students fulfil their potential, and we also care for their emotional wellbeing, helping students to make the most of university life. Ultimately, we hope that through their experiences at Birmingham, care experienced students will develop their social capital and be ready for the next step of their life journey, wherever that may take them.

Professor Deborah Longworth, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Academic Experience)

Support for care experienced students

Support for care leavers  

As a Care Leaver, you will receive everything listed in the above Support for care experienced students section. We also offer this support:

Guidance for staff supporting a care leaver or care experienced student

Navigating universities can be difficult, especially if it's not something you do often, so on this page we aim to provide information to support you. We also always welcome further questions to outreach@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

It’s useful to know that the definitions universities use to determine whether someone is a care leaver or care experienced student will differ, so you will need to advise your applicant to check individual universities' websites to find out more.

We would strongly encourage you to advise them to tick the box on their UCAS application as this ensures universities contact them with information about the support they can offer.

If they are considering the University of Birmingham, we provide all care experienced applicants with a single point of contact in the Outreach Team and have a range of support available.

All our Outreach programmes prioritise places for care experience students, so we would recommend our Pathways to Birmingham programmes for students in years 12 and 13.

You may also find the Further support from other parties section useful.

Further support from the University of Birmingham

  • Advice and guidance are available from University accommodation Mentors. All our student mentors are fully trained and available to help you from the moment you know you’re coming to Birmingham, to when you move in and throughout your time with us.

  • The university has other bursaries available to enable students to undertake internships, work experience or overseas placements and care leavers are prioritised for all funding sources. Students who disclose on their UCAS form at the time of applying that they are in or have been in care will be reviewed for any relevant bursaries.

  • You have access to our award-winning Careers Network which will support you with planning for a successful career upon graduation and with accessing national-award-winning internships and placements in the UK and overseas.

Further support from other parties

  • Download the Inspire Me! App for inspiring stories for care leavers by care leavers.
  • Propel is a website designed to provide support and information to care leavers who want to enter Higher Education.
  • Access Estranged and Care Experienced Students (EaCES) Handbook. A virtual guide written by estranged and care experienced students to bring together information and advice to help other students from the same background.
  • Check your Pathway Plan with your Leaving Care Worker. Some local authorities provide a one-off £2000 Higher Education Bursary to care leavers who started their course before their 25th birthday and does not need to be repaid.

You can now search for support offered by individual local authorities at:

Useful contacts for current students

We are working hard to provide a coordinated support system for care experienced students at the University which compliments the support we already deliver. Below are staff members you can turn to for support and guidance.

  • Alice McGowan, your single point of contact for all pre-entry enquiries. Based in Beech House, email a.v.mcgowan@bham.ac.uk.
  • Leanne Campbell, your point of contact whilst studying. Based in Aston Webb, email l.b.campbell@bham.ac.uk.
  • Emily Owen, your Student Services contact. She can help you manage practical, emotional and psychological issues you may face during your studies. Based in Aston Webb Hub, email e.j.owen@bham.ac.uk.
  • Alicia Burton, your accommodation contact. She can support you with any accommodation issues you may face. Based in University Centre, email a.burton.1@bham.ac.uk.
  • Danny Mall, your Careers Network contact. He can provide support with UK and overseas internships and placements, CV writing and obtaining a job on campus. Based in the Arts Building, email d.mall@bham.ac.uk.
  • Aaliyah Simms (Welfare and Community Officer) your Guild of Students contact. She can advise on what else you can do outside your academic study such as joining clubs or societies. Based in the Guild of Students, email welfare@guild.bham.ac.uk
  • As a current student at the University of Birmingham, you also have access to urgent support.
Drawing of a carer with an arm around a child
Watch our video about the support we offer to care leavers