Care leavers

The University has in place a support package for students who are Care Leavers and Care Experienced.

What does Care Leaver and Care Experienced mean?

Every student is unique and individual experiences vary but we recognise that Care Experienced and Care Leaver students may face particular challenges in relation to accommodation and finances, and may also have experienced disruption in their schooling. Care experience can include many types of care such as foster care, children’s home, kinship care or supported 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.

What do we mean by Care Leaver?

We are identifying a Care Leaver as someone who meets all the following*:

  • Is aged under 25 on the first day of the current academic year i.e., 1 September; and
  • Is eligible for Care Leaver Personal Adviser Support from their Local Authority because they are a Care Leaver who is pursuing higher education; and
  • Was in the Care of a UK Local Authority for a period of at least 13 weeks and this period spanned their 16th birthday.
What do we mean by Care Experienced?

We are identifying a student who is Care Experienced as someone who meets all the following:

  • Is a BCU student of any age; and
  • At any stage of their life, and for any length of time, has been in care e.g., looked after by the Local Authority. This may include:
    • time in the care of the Local Authority (e.g., foster care or children’s home),
    • privately fostered,
    • ‘looked after at home’ under a supervision order or in kinship care (living with friends or relatives). Kinship care could be through a formal arrangement (e.g., prior to a Special Guardianship order), or through an informal arrangement, without Local Authority support.

Care Leaver Bursary

The Care Leaver Bursary is available to eligible undergraduate students who meet the above definition of a Care Leaver*.

Eligible Care Leavers will receive a non-means tested annual award of £1,500 for each year of undergraduate study, with the exception of final year when a total of £2,000 will be paid. Payments will be made in instalments.

Care leavers are not required to apply for this award, but are required to provide evidence that they meet the University’s Care Leaver definition in order for payment to be made. Care leavers are encouraged to confirm their status as soon as possible in order to access the full complement of funds. Payments will only be made from the point of confirmed status onwards.

You can access the Full eligibility and Terms and conditions for the Care Leaver Bursary here.

Care Leaver Graduating support

Eligible undergraduate students who meet the above definition of a Care Leaver* and have been in receipt of the University Care Leaver Bursary will not be charged for the cost of gown hire and will receive two guest tickets for the undergraduate graduation ceremony; and one set of professional photographs free of charge.

Guaranteed access to accommodation

Eligible Care Leaver and Care Experienced students will have guaranteed access to a place in University accommodation (University and University partner providers only), subject to the University accommodation eligibility criteria, giving you priority access to our accommodation for the full duration of study. No deposit is required where we have confirmed your Care Leaver status or Care experience at the point you secure your accommodation (offer limited to University Locks).

Dedicated support

Care leavers and care experienced students can already access a range of support from services including Mental Health and Wellbeing; Money and Childcare advice; and Careers+.

However, we are currently developing a dedicated support offer for Care Leaver and Care experienced students, with full details and named contacts set out in a specific support brochure aimed at this group of students. We are also developing opportunities for Care Leaver and Care Experienced students to directly influence how we work.

Further information will be made available once this work has been finalised.

Get in touch

If you are a current BCU student and wish to confirm your Care experience or Care leaver status with the university you can find out more here.

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.

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