What support is available for care experienced students?

Queen Mary is committed to supporting those who are, or have been, in the care of a Local Authority (in foster care or semi-independent living or a residential care home), to achieve their potential and succeed at university.

Queen Mary has a dedicated scheme to support care experienced students, which includes having a dedicated Welfare Adviser as your key contact for support.

You are encouraged to contact us to access this support scheme before you start at Queen Mary - ideally before you apply for your place at university or soon after. However you are also welcome to contact us at any stage of your course.

Applying to University

- Applicants that have been in care for at least 13 weeks during the period of their secondary education would be eligible for a reduced grades offer from Queen Mary if studying A Levels/IB.

- Students are encouraged to disclose their care experienced status on the UCAS application form so the university will know about their care experienced.

- You can also mention it in your personal statement

- If you didn’t mention it and would now like to (if your application is still being considered) you can email the Admissions team dealing with your application and ask them to let the admissions tutor know.

- This information will never be used against a student; it will be used to consider a contextualised offer and to make you aware of appropriate support, and you can then decide whether you want to take up that support, and if so, when you want to do that.


- If you are living in a flat provided by your Local Authority, you need to be aware that if you decide to leave that accommodation while you are a student to live elsewhere, you would be unlikely to get re-housed by the Local Authority again at a later date.

- Also, you may be eligible for some financial support towards your accommodation costs from your Local Authority

- All new undergraduate students are guaranteed a room in Queen Mary Halls of Residence, on the Mile End campus, but only in your first year.

- After 1st year, you would need to look for privately rented accommodation

- Current students can apply to stay in halls of residence during the summer vacation.

- Or you may prefer to rent private accommodation.

- Queen Mary Housing Services staff can advise you on all of your housing options.

Financial support

Unite Scholarship:

- The scholarship gives undergraduate care experienced and estranged students (first degree course only) a free ensuite student bedroom in a purpose built Unite Students building opposite the Mile End campus for a maximum of three years of your university life.

- All of your rent and bills would be paid for 365 days a year for up to three years.

- The exact eligibility criteria is explained in the guidance notes.

- The deadline is 1 June 2022.

Other scholarships/funding:

- The Rees Foundation offers emergency financial support and grants specifically for care leavers in Higher Education

- The Care Leavers Foundation provide grants predominantly for 20 year olds upwards

-The Capstone Care Leavers Trust who provide grants up to age 25 for university study materials, laptops, household goods etc

- The Spark Foundation

- Queen Mary Bursary: If you are getting Student Finance as a single independent student, you should automatically qualify for a Queen Mary Bursary in each year of your course. You don't need to make a separate application for this, and there are an unlimited number of these bursaries. The bursary is non-repayable and is for you to use on whatever you need.

- Financial Assistance Fund: awards grants to eligible students whose income is not enough to pay for their essential costs. The fund can help young independent students (aged under 25) with a grant to help towards the cost of their rent during the summer vacation. You might also qualify for a grant during the academic year, depending on your circumstances.

- In addition, Tower Hamlets Local Authority exempts care experienced people from council tax up to the age of 25. If you move outside Tower Hamlets, you can check with your Local Authority if they have any care leaver exemption scheme.

Applying for Student Finance

- If you are not in contact with parent(s) or guardian, you need to apply to SFE (Student Finance England) to be assessed as an independent student.

- This means that SFE will not expect you to provide parental income as part of your application for Student Finance, and that you should normally be eligible for the maximum amounts of funding.

- If you don’t apply as independent, and you cannot provide parental income information, you would only receive the minimum amount of Maintenance Loan, which would mean it would be very difficult to pay for your living costs.

Postgraduate students

- You won't need to apply to be assessed as an independent student as you do for undergraduate Student Finance, because Postgraduate Loans are not income asssessed.

Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre

- As a care experienced student, you have the option of having a dedicated Careers Consultant at the Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre throughout your course.

- A Careers Consultant can give you one to one advice and help with building your work experience and skills throughout your time at university. 

Was this article helpful?

0 out of 1 liked this article