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University boosts graduation bursary to support care experienced students through coronavirus crisis

Posted on 6 July 2020

The University of York has announced it will boost its financial support for care experienced and estranged graduates this year, in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The bursary will provide financial help for students without family support as they transition from university to employment during the pandemic, with the payment boosted from £1,000 to £5,000.

The fund will help 18 students graduating this summer and is part of the University’s Access and Outreach support for under-represented groups in higher education. It builds on the University’s mission to open up opportunities and combat inequalities. 


Joanna Paluch-Edwards, Student Adviser for care leavers and estranged students at the University of York, said: “Students graduating this year are entering an uncertain job market and care leavers and estranged students are particularly vulnerable as they may not have a family home they can return to while they look for employment.

“This is an opportunity for the University to continue to play a transformative and empowering role in their futures. We are committed to supporting their development and wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

Students receiving this year’s increased bursary said:

“I am so thankful for the wonderful support. This has now allowed me to think more positively about securing myself a job by giving me the opportunity to look outside my own city without the concern of thinking how to support myself financially.” – Maria Bibi, BA in Business and Management.

“Once again thank you so much - you could never know the true extent that this extra bursary payment has changed my life but all I can say is thank you and that future cohorts of independent/care experienced students are incredibly lucky to have such an amazing support system in place that is so unique to this particular university." - Jenni Holden, BSc in Biology.

"During lockdown I faced a lot of issues with what to do after graduation and where to go. After deciding to pursue a teaching career next year, £4000 from university is going to help me reach my goal of helping young children find their goals. Thank you to the University for all the support." – Megan Parry, BSc in Mathematics. 

Support through lockdown

This academic year, the University of York was cited as an example of good practice by the Office for Students for the support it is providing care leavers and estranged students during the pandemic.

This has included weekly check-ins from University staff; online socials to connect students with shared experiences; cards and gifts to mark special occasions such as birthdays and Easter, and advice and support on finance, accommodation and mental health. 

In 2019 the University unveiled a support package to provide free accommodation to students who have been in care for the duration of their course. 

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