Support for care leavers

Student throwing his arms up in the air in celebration, with Old Joe clock tower in the background.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 make the right choices, 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.

If you choose to attend the University of Birmingham we have a range of support available for Care Leavers. We strongly recommend that you tick the box on your UCAS application as this will help us send you information about the support we can offer.

Accommodation Support 

  • The Enhanced Chamberlain Award is currently an award of £5,975.04 to fund accommodation if you choose to live in University owned halls (the deadline for applications to this award is the 31 May but do contact the Outreach office if you have missed it). If you choose to live off campus, you could be entitled to a cash bursary of £3,000 payable in two instalments in January and May.
  • You will be given priority in choice of University 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. 
  • Access to university accommodation on a 52-week basis for the duration of your course 
  • 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.  

Financial Support

  • As part of the Enhanced Chamberlain award, if you choose to live off campus, you could be entitled to a cash bursary of £3,000 payable in two instalments in January and May.
  • Opportunity to apply for a scholarship, read more in the Care Leaver Scholarship tab. 
  • As part of your Pathway Plan you may be entitled to a one off £2000 Higher Education Bursary from your local authority. This is available to any care leaver who started their course before their 25th birthday, and does not need to be repaid. Talk to your Leaving Care Worker for more information.
  • 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. For more information, see the undergraduate funding webpage. 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.

Transitional Support

  • You will have a single point of contact for pre-entry support and guidance, and an ongoing point of contact throughout your time at University, including the offer of an initial guidance session with a designated advisor on your arrival. Your first point of contact the Outreach team via e-mail or +44 (0)121 414 6722.
  • We will invite you to join our Access to Birmingham induction day before the start of the main University Welcome Week, which includes information on student support, finance, how to get involved in the Guild of Students and careers.
  • Skills4Uni, our online study skills resource, is here to help you with your current studies and preparation for university. From revision techniques to note-taking, finding information to referencing styles, Skills4Uni includes six interactive zones for you to choose from. Zones include tips from current university students, quick quizzes and opportunities to reflect on your experiences. Take the Skills4Uni challenge!
  • Open days give you the perfect opportunity to visit our beautiful campus, hear first-hand from our current students and teaching staff about living and learning at Birmingham. Travel reimbursement for attending open days will be available for care leavers on a case by case basis. Please contact the Outreach team

Alternative offer opportunities

The Outreach and Widening Participation team provides a variety of free events and activities, for students in the West Midlands, to help while deciding what or where to study, and gain an insight into university life. Care leavers are given priority allocation of places. These activities include:

  • Your Future – Your Choice Summer School gives students in Year 10 the opportunity to find out what it is like to study at university, and in particular a research-led institution like Birmingham. There are two broad academic streams - Health Sciences and Routes to the Professions. 
  • Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP) is a five day residential for students in Year 12 and starts with a week-long summer residential in August and includes follow-up activities in Year 13.
  • Access to Birmingham (A2B) is a programme designed to help students from families and communities in the West Midlands who have little or no experience of Higher Education find out about what studying at university involves. Care leavers from partner schools and colleges are automatically eligible to apply. A successful A2B applicant will receive two offers from the University of Birmingham, the standard one and an alternative A2B offer. The A2B offer is typically a reduction of up to two A level grades (eg BBB rather than AAB), conditional upon passing our A2B module. 

Our opportunties for students outside the West Midlands include:

  • National Access Summer School (NASS) is a four day residential for students in Year 12 and starts with a week-long summer residential in August and includes follow-up activities in Year 13.
  • A 'contextual offer' is an alternative route to undergraduate study for students. Our contextual offer scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement at school or college. This means you would receive two offers - our typical offer and an alternative offer. Your contextual offer is normally one grade lower than the typical offer shown on our course pages or in our prospectus, but can differ depending on the subject you would like to study.  If you’re eligible, you just need to submit your UCAS application in the normal way and we will take your circumstances into account when considering your application. If you believe you’re eligible for the alternative offer but have not yet received please contact the Outreach Team

Once at the University of Birmingham

To support your transition to this new way of learning, you have access to a comprehensive support system that includes the Academic Skills Centre based in the main library. In addition to your departmental personal tutor we provide a confidential service to help you manage practical, emotional and psychological issues that may impact on your academic success. Also available is a multi-faith chaplaincy.

We can offer an initial guidance session, at the start of your time here, for those that request it.

All undergraduates have access to our award winning Careers Network to support you to plan for a successful career on graduation; access national-award-winning internships and placements in the UK and overseas. 

Care Leaver Scholarship

There are two Care Leaver Scholarships available each year which are intended to provide additional financial support for you while studying at University and beyond.

Each award includes:

  • £2,000 per academic year of your undergraduate programme paid in cash into your nominated bank account
  • £500 non-repayable graduation bursary paid on successful completion of your programme

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

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