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Help support students who've been in care

Exchange editorial team

Providing up-to-date information about our student finance products and services.

Publication date: 30 July 2019

A care leaver is a young person who:

  • has been in the care of, or been given accommodation by, their Local Authority (LA) for a period of at least 13 weeks before the age of 16
  • has not reconciled with their parents between leaving care and starting their course

Students will not be classed as care leavers if they:

  • have been looked after by family members or legal guardians (without the involvement of their LA)
  • have a residency order
  • have been given accommodation or supported housing by a charity

Support available to care leavers

Care leavers can apply for full support from Student Finance England without providing any information about their household income.

Check out the products page to find out what funding students can apply for.

Evidence needed from care leavers

The student will be asked to send evidence that shows they were looked after, or have been given accommodation by, their LA. Usually they’ll be asked to send a letter from their local council or care authority. This letter should confirm they:

  • were under the care of their LA
  • have now left the care of the LA
  • are a care leaver as defined in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

They’ll only have to provide this evidence once at the start of their course.

Other support and advice for care leavers

Care Leavers may also be eligible to get:

  • funding from the LA that was responsible for their care. To apply for support, students should contact their personal advisor, social worker or case worker
  • financial support from their university or college, for example fee waivers or cash awards
  • support from their university or college’s advice centre or student union

There are also organisations that provide support for care leavers and students who are estranged from their families:

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