Support for care leavers

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. If you are leaving care to come to university we believe that you deserve a little extra support to help you settle in quickly, focus on your studies and enjoy your student experience.

We strongly recommend that you tick the box on your UCAS application which identifies you have spent time in care, as this will help all universities send you information about the support they can offer. This information with be treated in confidence and used by admissions tutors to understand the context of your academic achievements. Universities won’t need to know why you’ve been in care. We understand that some students might see university as a fresh start and may be reluctant to let universities know, however this information will only ever be used to enhance your experience as an applicant and student.

The definition universities use to define a care leaver will differ so you will need to check individual university websites to find out more. If you choose to attend 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. 

Note, to be eligible for our the financial awards and contextual offer as a care leaver you must be over the age of 16 and have been in the care of the local authority and/or Health and Social Care Trust for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14. If you do not meet the requirement for the financial support and contextual offer, we still have a range of support we can offer you.

Accommodation support 

  • You can apply for the Enhanced Chamberlain Award which is a financial award to support your accommodation costs at University. Each year of study you can choose between up to £5,975.04 to fund University owned accommodation or £3,000 to fund accommodation elsewhere.
  • You will be given priority in choice of University owned accommodation (please ensure your accommodation application arrives ahead of the deadline of 31 May)
  • You do not have to pay the pre-payment of £550 to secure your accommodation as part of your online acceptance
  • We’re proud to be able to offer access to University accommodation on a 52-week basis for the duration of your course 
  • You will receive advice and guidance 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.
  • Personalised tours on our Accommodation Open Day are available 
  • Complimentary welcome packages will be provided if you move into University owned accommodation, including bedding, saucepans and other useful products.  

Financial support

  • You can apply for the Care Leavers Scholarship, which awards £2,000 per academic year of your undergraduate programme and a £500 graduation bursary paid on successful completion of your programme.  
  • It’s also worth contacting your local authority as within part of your Pathway Plan you may be entitled to a one off £2,000 higher education payment. This is available to any care leaver who started their undergraduate programme before their 25th birthday, and does not need to be repaid. Talk to your Leaving Care Worker for more information.
  • The university has other undergraduate funding bursaries available to enable students to undertake internships, work experience or overseas placements and Care Leavers are prioritised for all funding sources.

Transitional support

  • You can contact the single point of contact by email outreach@contacts.bham.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)121 414 6722 for any pre-entry support and guidance, including support with your personal statement or applying to Student Finance.  
  • You can attend our Care Leavers Open Day (date to be confirmed during October’s care leavers week) which is a smaller open day specifically designed for care experienced students. You can attend with a guest of your choice to see our beautiful campus first-hand, meet the supporting staff face to face and hear from care experienced students currently studying at the University.
  • You can attend our Pathways to Birmingham induction day before starting the main University Welcome Week. This is an opportunity to meet other students who will also be starting at the University, hear from current students and get advice from departments including careers, students services and the Guild of Students.
  • Access our Skills4Uni online study skills resource. It is there to help you with your current studies and preparation for university. From revision techniques and note-taking, to finding information or referencing styles, Skills4Uni includes six interactive zones for you to choose from.
  • You can attend our Open Days to hear from our teaching staff about living and learning at Birmingham. Travel reimbursement for attending open days is available for care leavers on a case by case basis, contact outreach@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Alternative offer opportunities 

  • As a care leaver you could be eligible for a contextual offer which is an entry offer normally one grade lower than the typical entry offer shown on our course pages or in our prospectus, but can differ depending on the subject you would like to study. It’s really important you tick the box on your UCAS application form for the contextual offer to be given automatically. If you believe you’re eligible for the contextual offer but have not yet received one, please email outreach@contacts.bham.ac.uk.
  • The Outreach team provides a variety of free events and activities, to help you while deciding what or where to study, and gain an insight into university life. Care leavers are given priority allocation on all of our programmes including:

For students in the West Midlands

For students outside the West Midlands

A Year 12 summer school - National Access Summer School (NASS) 

Once at the University of Birmingham

  • Become part of the Care Experience focus group. A group of students from across all year groups who come together with the Outreach team to provide guidance on how we can improve what we do for care experienced students. This also gives students a great opportunity to meet and connect with other students who have shared similar experiences.
  • You have access to a comprehensive support system that includes the Academic Skills Centre, your departmental personal tutor and a multi-faith chaplaincy.

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 but also an ongoing point of contact throughout your time at university. Based in Beech House, email a.v.mcgowan@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 Web Hub, email e.j.owen@bham.ac.uk.
  • Fiona Innes, your accommodation contact. She can support you with any accommodation issues you may face. Based in University Centre, email f.innes@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.mail@bham.ac.uk.
  • Joshua Williams, your Guild of Students contact. He 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 president@guild.bham.ac.uk.

As a current student at the University of Birmingham you also have access to urgent support.

Care Leaver Events

Below is a list of up and coming events you can use to find out more about what’s available at the University of Birmingham. 

Care Leavers Open Day

This events runs during National Care Leavers week (26 October - 1 November) and is a chance to visit our campus, meet the Care Leavers support staff, experience a university lecture and meet current students a who are studying at the university who have experienced time in care. This year the event will be held online and is most appropriate for care experienced students in Year 12 or 13 considering applying to university. However we hope the event could also be useful for any care experienced students wanting to know more about how universities can support students from a care background and any staff members supporting these students. 

Sign up to attend the event on Wednesday 28 October 11:00-12:00 

Sign up to attend the event on Wednesday 28 October 16:00-17:00 

Watch our video about the support we offer to care leavers

Support for Care Leavers

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 & Social Care Trust for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14.*
*Care leavers who have subsequently been adopted would not normally be eligible for a priority financial award.

Further information

Inspire Me!
Propel
Unite Foundation
Buttle UK