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Care leavers

So, what is a care leaver?  

A complex question but generally it is someone who has been in the care of their local authority for a period of 13 weeks or more around their 16th birthday. You could have been in foster care or residential accommodation. If you fit this definition you should be receiving support, including financial support, from your local authority’s Leaving Care Team to come to university, although at Salford we will support you even if    you have been in care for just one day, if you need help sorting out your support from your local authority or you do not know if you are entitled to support please contact us here.

This is a useful guide from Coram Voice - Are you a Care Leaver?

Ever been in care?            

Why are we asking? You may have noticed that the UCAS application asks if you have been in care and for how long. It is not because we are being nosey, and it will definitely not affect your chances of getting a place at Salford. It is simply because we recognise that some care leavers may face different and/or multiple hurdles in coming to    university and succeeding to the best of their ability.            

This may include specific financial worries, problems at home which may need to be taken into account, tailored accommodation arrangements, study support, confidence building or emotional support. Then again you may not need this type of support at all! Confidentiality is important to us, and we    will always respect this. However sometimes, to ensure that you receive the best possible support, with your consent, we may have to inform other people.    

Supporting you...  

If you have been in care, some students prefer to have a fresh start and don’t want to be ‘labelled’ as a care leaver when they come to university. We understand this, but only the Care Leaver Team will know unless you give us permission to tell someone else, so we hope you will stay    in contact with us so we can occasionally email you to tell us about the great support we offer, including bursaries. If you no longer want any contact from us, please email us to let us know and we will remove you from our contact lists. We are very friendly and hope you don’t make this decision!  

Please note that you may have been supported by your Leaving Care Team previously but may have lost contact with them especially if you are not joining us directly from college or school. The law has recently changed and if you start university before your 25th birthday you may be eligible for support from your local authority to come to university. If this is the case we recommend that you get in contact with your local authority telling them you are going to university. If you would like help with this, please let us know and we will help you make contact with your local authority.  

Before starting...

Soon after you have completed your application form, you will receive a welcome letter from the askUS Team inviting you to contact us to arrange a meeting with the Care Leaver Co-ordinator. Of course you do not need to take this up but it would help us if you told us that you don’t need our help. If, later on, you  change  your  mind, we can arrange a meeting then! For more information on the support available before and during your studies, you can view our FAQ section here. You can also make a request for support by completing the "Supporting My Application" form.  

Care Leaver’s Advocacy Service              

Barnardo’s Children’s Charity has a long history of supporting children, young people and families from care backgrounds, right across the UK. Their services have helped support and shape the future of children in need, who are classed as looked after children and those registered under child protection plans.              

For young people from care backgrounds, it can be particularly difficult to know where to turn when things don’t work out exactly as they should. That is why Barnardo’s runs an advocacy service to help advise and represent the rights of those in need.              

An advocate can provide young people with the opportunity to talk with someone confidentially, who will listen and help them to understand their situation, whilst providing useful information that can be of benefit to the child/young person. They can also give them the opportunity to have their say in meetings, whilst  also representing them by contributing to child protection or child in need plans.              

You can visit the Care Leaver’s Association website to find out more about additional or alternative advocacy services.              

For more information about advocacy and some of the benefits that might be useful to you as a young person or student, please visit: or click on the following links for more information:              

Care Leaver Information    

Unite Foundation Accommodation Scholarship - applications are now open!  

Free Year-Round Student Accommodation

Are you 25 or under, a care leaver or estranged from your family and will be studying at the University of Salford from September 2020?

You can apply for free year-round student accommodation at university from the Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme.

Apply now for a chance to live rent-free from September 2020.

No rent, no bills, 365 days a year for up to 3 years.  

The scholarship takes care of a place for you to live whilst you’re at university leaving you free to study, meet new people and plan your career. Scholarships are awarded to students with a wide range of backgrounds and academic grades.  Unite will help you settle in, keep in touch with you and offer you extra opportunities for enjoyment or employment throughout your studies.


  • Aged 25 or under
  • A statutory care leaver or estranged from your family
  • Starting or studying your first undergraduate degree
  • Holding UK home fee status
  • Applying to/studying at a partner university


The window to submit your scholarship scheme application for 2020/21 is open.  Start filling out the form and collecting your evidence now!

Applications and supporting evidence must be submitted to by 5pm on 29/05/20.

If you have any questions please email

Work Opportunities for Care Leavers

As a University we run a number of outreach activities aimed at young people who have experience of the care system. Student ambassadors who are Care Leavers themselves are vitally important for this work, acting as a role model to young people from a similar background. We offer regular, flexible paid work as a student ambassador. You will never be asked to share your experiences prior to University, but to speak honestly and positively about what life is like in Higher Education, so that young people can make an informed decision about whether University is right for them.

If you are interested in signing up, please contact You can even get in touch before you enrol at University of Salford.

Care Leaver Bursary 2019/20

Click here for terms & conditions

We offer bursaries to care leavers each year, under the scheme the bursaries are worth £1,000 per annum for each year of study (up to a maximum of three years), they're available to students who have registered for a full-time undergraduate course at the University commencing 2018/19, certain criteria  will apply so look out for an email from us in October which will tell you how to apply.

The Salford Care Leavers’ Bursary is funded in part by the Salford Advantage Fund, supported by charitable donations from alumni and friends of the University who donate in support of current students.

If you have any questions please contact us.

Important Documents  

'Care Leaver' - The poem        

Written by;
Jackie Kay the University Chancellor
Presented at the GM Care Leaver Awards 2016

Contact for support

Jane, Louisa, Jo & Liam
Care Leaver Support Team
t: 0161 295 0023

Please email if you would like to book a 1-1 appointment with the team.