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WHAT IS A CARE LEAVER/care experienced Student?

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 living in residential accommodation. If you fit this definition you should be receiving support, including financial help, from your local authority’s Leaving Care Team to come to university. If you need help sorting this out or you do not know if you are entitled to support please contact us here. At the University of Salford, we provide support for all students that have been in care, even if you don’t fit the legal definition. We call this care-experienced.

If you’re not sure whether you are a care leaver, or if you want information and advice on your rights then there’s a useful quiz on Coram’s Voice, that you may want to use.

Before University:

Both the UCAS and the University of Salford online registration form ask whether you have been in care. This is because we recognise that some care experienced students may face different and/or multiple hurdles in coming to university and succeeding to the best of their ability, and we want to offer you as much support as possible. Letting us know that you have been in care will not affect the outcome of your application but will allow us to give you the best support possible. If you’d like to seek careers advice, even before you apply for university, you can speak to one of our careers consultants by emailing or by calling 0161 295 0023 (Option 5, Option 1)

If you have been supported by a Leaving Care Team previously but have lost contact with them, then you may still be eligible for support from them if you’re joining university before your 25th Birthday. We’d recommend that you let them know that you’re going to university so that they can arrange this support to be in place.It is also a good idea to arrange a Pathway Planning meeting with your social worker before you come to University so that you are both clear on the support that they will provide while you are at Salford.If you’d like help with doing this, then please let us know and we will help you make contact with your local authority.

Some students prefer to have a fresh start and don’t want to be ‘labelled’ as a care leaver. We understand this, but only the Care Leaver Team will know unless you give us permission to tell someone else. We will 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!  

We understand that coming to University is a big decision and we’d recommend that you come and visit us for yourselves before you apply so that you can see exactly what we do! We can organise bespoke visit days for care-experienced individuals and during these you will be able to meet the Care Leaver support team, have a tour of the campus, have some lunch in the on-site canteen and meet lecturers from your course of preference to ask any questions that you may have.  You are welcome to visit by yourself, or with anyone that you’d like with you. If you’d like us to set up a visit day, then please email us on

Care-experienced students are also entitled to the full amount of maintenance loan from Student Finance, which for the 2020/21 academic year is £9,203. We’d recommend applying for Student Finance before the Easter of the year that you are planning on coming to Salford. This is to give the Student Loans Company plenty of time to approve your application. If you need any have any questions about Student Finance, please contact us on 0161 295 0023 (Option 2, Option 3) or on

Once you’ve completed your application to the university, you will receive a welcome email from the askUS team inviting you to come in and meet the team. There’s no pressure to accept this, but if you’d like to come and see us and learn about the support that we can offer then we’ll be happy to arrange this. You may find our FAQ sectionhelpful as this answers some of the most common questions that we receive.

During Your Studies


The main financial support that we offer care-experienced students is the Care-Leaver Bursary. This bursary is worth £1000 per academic year and is paid to you in two instalments, £500 in November and £500 in April. You will receive this for each year of your study, but not for any repeat years that you undertake or under certain circumstances if you change courses. If you have ticked that you are care-experienced on the UCAS and Online Registration form then we will contact you to apply for the bursary. If you haven’t heard anything from us by the October of you registering then contact us on

We also guarantee work for any care leaver that would like to be employed, through our Student Insight Ambassador scheme. This is flexible work to fit around your studies and involves working at open days and visit days to show care experienced applicants around the university, working at outreach events and promoting the work that we do in the care leaver support team. This is organised through our onsite temporary job agency, Unitemps who can also help you find employment in other areas of the university and in external companies.

If you find yourself in financial hardship, you can apply for the Salford Support Fund and more information can be found here.

There are also some charities that provide grants or bursaries that you may want to apply for. To find out more about these, please look at the ‘External Links’ section at the bottom of this page.

When you get to the end of your course, you may need help with paying for gown hire for Graduation. If you’d like us to  support you with the cost of this, then please get in contact with us.


Staying in student halls is all part of the fun of coming to university, but it may be worth chatting to your local authority before signing any contracts as they may be able to provide you with long-term accommodation prior to coming to university. 

If you stay with our Partner Accommodation that’s run by Campus Living Villages (Peel Park Quarter or John Lester and Eddie Coleman) then we may be able to provide additional support.

CLV offer 52-week contracts for care-experienced students to make the gap between academic years easier for you by letting you stay in their accommodation over summer. They can also organise for you to book your room without paying the deposit and rental advance up front, and delaying it until the first instalment of your student loan comes in. We may also be able to organise for you to stay at the accommodation for all three years of your study through our ‘Protected Returner’ scheme. If you’d like to find out more about any of the above, please get in contact with us.

We are also university partners with the Unite Foundation, who have a scholarship that can provide up to three years of free accommodation whilst you’re at university. You can find out how to apply here, and if you’re successful you’ll get your accommodation without having to pay rent or bills for up to three years. You can find out the eligibility criteria on the link above and once you’ve filled out the form please return it to by 5pm on 29/05/20.

We’ve also become partners with Housing Hand, which can act as a guarantor for your accommodation. If you’re in your first, or second year at university then we may be able to cover the cost of using Housing Hand. If you’ve not yet started at Salford then we have an exclusive price of £250 or 8 monthly payments of £35. Please contact the team for further information.

If you ever need any advice or support on accommodation, then we have an accommodation support team that may be able to help. They also work alongside Manchester Student Homes, who will check the legality of contracts and can provide a list of accredited student accommodation providers and landlords. The accommodation team can be contacted on


The care leaver support team is here to be your first point of contact at the university and although we usually only deal with non-academic enquiries we can put you in contact with the relevant people if necessary. By using the dedicated care leaver email we can provide support usually within two working days and set up one-to-one appointments to resolve any issues that you’re having.

During your studies it is completely normal to want, or need, to seek additional emotional support at university. We have a dedicated Wellbeing team who will be able to speak with you about anything that is worrying you and refer you into counselling if you’d like. They can be contacted on 0161 295 0023 (Option 1, Option 1), on email at or through the referral form which can be found here.

We also have a dedicated Disability and Learner Support Team at the university, who will be able to support you with getting extra support in place for you. It’s best to contact them before you start university so that they can get your support in place before you start. They can be rung on 0161 295 0023 (Option 1, Option 2) or emailed on

We have also set up an instant messaging service for our care-experienced students and prospective students to connect through. If you’re interested in joining, then please let us know by emailing


'CARE LEAVER' – A POEM        

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


Jane, Louisa, Liam, Jo & Hannah
Care Leaver Support Team
T: 0161 295 0023 (Option 3, Option 1)