Care leavers

The University has a dedicated package of support for students who come from a background in care – BCU’s five commitments to care leavers. Every student is unique and individual experiences vary but we recognise that care leaver students may face particular challenges in relation to accommodation and finances, and may also have experienced disruption in their schooling.

What is a care leaver?

A care leaver is defined as someone who has previously lived with foster parents, in a children’s home, orphanage, or sheltered accommodation. The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 specifically defines a care leaver as someone who has been in the care of the Local Authority for a period of 13 weeks or more spanning their 16th birthday.

BCU's five commitments to care leavers:

1. BCU Earn2Learn

All care leaver students will be able to benefit from the University’s Earn2Learn scheme, guaranteeing you 7.5 hours' placement employment for up to 30 weeks during semesters in one of BCU’s central service teams or Students’ Union. 

  • Due to Covid-19 restrictions, including University teams working from home, the Earn2Learn scheme has been temporarily stopped.
    This will be reviewed following the lifting of restrictions.
2. Exit support for care leavers 

Graduate care leavers will be eligible for an exit award – a minimum of £1,000 (not means-tested) and a maximum of £3,000 (means-tested), giving you a deposit on a flat to support your progression into work after your studies. See eligibility below.

3. Guaranteed access to University accommodation

Care leavers are guaranteed access to a place in University accommodation, giving you priority access to our accommodation for the full duration of study.

4. A key contact from application

Care leavers will be allocated a member of our Admissions team as a single point of contact from application through to commencing studies at the University, supporting you with any queries or concerns that might arise.

5. Mental health and wellbeing support 

Care leavers will have access to our Mental Health and Wellbeing team who can support you while studying at the University.  They can offer advice and guidance on a range of topics and help you access information and support with whatever you need to thrive at BCU.*

Eligibility for an exit support payment

  • For students progressing from undergraduate degrees to postgraduate courses, this exit support payment will be deferred and made on completing postgraduate study.
  • Students completing postgraduate courses, having not undertaken an undergraduate degree immediately beforehand, are not eligible.
  • The exit support payment is only applicable to students who commence their studies at BCU in either Year 0 (Foundation Year) or Year 1 (undergraduate degree), and go on to graduate from BCU.

Get in touch

If you are currently in care or are leaving/have previously been in care, and you are interested in studying at Birmingham City University, please contact Admissions on 0121 331 6295 or email us to find out more information about what we can do to support you.

* Please note this information has been updated since the 2021/22 prospectus went to print. 

It is important to note that the current exit award for graduate care leavers will be withdrawn at the end of the 2021/22 academic year.  However, a new care leaver’s scheme (including a financial bursary) will be introduced for eligible care leavers who start their studies with us in 2022/23 and subsequent academic years.  Further details on the new scheme being introduced will be available shortly.

Current students can find us on iCity

Student support information is available on our student portal, iCity (a university login is required).

Find us on iCity