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  1. Support for care leavers
Study at City

Support for care leavers

At City, University of London, we recognise that starting university can be an exciting but at times challenging process. This is why we offer support to students who have spent time in local authority care from application stage, through to graduation and searching for employment. We also offer pre-entry advice and guidance through our Widening Participation Outreach team.

What is a care leaver?

The term 'care leaver' refers to a young person under the age of 25 who is currently or has been in public care for a minimum of three months since the age of 14 and on their 16th birthday. You can read the legal definitions of "care leaver" and "looked after" here .

If you don’t meet this definition of a care leaver, but have spent time in local authority care and are under 25 the start of your course, then you can still access support.

Pre-entry Support

The Widening Participation Outreach team offers a range of events and activities for students thinking about university and those who would like support to prepare them for university. Alongside the Designated Member of Staff (DMS) for care leavers, you can pre-entry support such as application advice, 1:1 bespoke visit days, Taster Weeks, and Pre-Induction events.

To see a comprehensive list of City’s Widening Participation Outreach activities, please download our guide.

For more information please contact the the City Cares Team at

Financial Support

  • Care Leavers Bursary - students who meet the eligibility criteria and have disclosed their care leaver status on UCAS will be awarded up to £3,500 each year of their studies for up to three years.
  • Hardship Fund - students who find themselves in financial hardship can apply for the Hardship Fund. Care-experienced students are eligible for up to £1,200.
  • Emergency Summer Fund - care-experienced students who are struggling financially outside of term time may be eligible for up to £2,000 in additional support. To find out more, you must make an appointment with the DMS for care leavers.
  • Graduation Package - care-experienced students in their final year will be given an outro meeting with the DMS as well as an appointment with a careers consultant. Upon attending both appointments, City will help cover the costs of graduation including gown hire, photos, and two family/friend tickets.

On-course support

City offers the following support to help students transition to City life, support you on your course and prepare for life after graduation.

  • A Designated Member of Staff (DMS) for care leavers to be the first point of contact and named officer to support students throughout your time at City.
  • Accommodation - care-experienced students (throughout their entire degree) are prioritised for City’s partner student accommodation providing they have City as their firm choice by the UCAS deadline. While we can’t guarantee 365-day accommodation, the Accommodation advisors and DMS can support you in finding suitable living arrangements.
  • CityBuddies Peer Mentoring - for new students to be matched with a second or third year student from the same course (where possible) to help you settle in to student life. Care-experienced students are prioritised for this scheme. For more information, please visit the CityBuddies website. (Please note this is available for undergraduate students only)
  • Professional Mentoring - second and third year undergraduate care-experienced students will be guaranteed an interview and given priority for the Professional Mentoring scheme; a development opportunity that provides students with a six month mentoring relationship with a person in industry. This is aimed at those with minimum work experience, who would like to build their confidence, and feel that they need professional guidance.
  • Mental Health Mentoring and Counselling - you can be prioritised for accessing counselling services and regular specialist mentoring. The Mental Health team can work collaboratively with the DMS for care leavers to help with your transition to City and offer longer term practical advice and emotional support over the course of your academic studies.

If we don't know you were in care, we can't offer you this extra help. The bursaries in particular have no application form - we contact students who have declared that they are care leavers.

We recommend that you tick the box on the UCAS form to disclose you have spent time in care to ensure you are contacted about opportunities that might be available to you. If you are a current City student and would like to disclose that you have spent time in care, please contact the City Cares Team at

Thinking of applying?

If you have any questions about the application process, would like to know more about City, University of London, or would like to arrange a visit to campus, please contact the City Cares Team at

Useful Resources

Are you unsure about what support you can get from government and local authorities? The following websites will be useful resources:

Buttle UK

The Who Cares? Trust

The Catch 22 National Care Advisory Service (NCAS)

The Care Leavers’ Foundation

The Care Leavers’ Association

The Sutton Trust

Student Finance England