Support for Care Leavers

At the University of York we are committed to providing the support our students need so that everyone achieves their full potential and has an exceptional and transformational experience.

The information on the tabs below details the support we offer to care leavers studying undergraduate courses at York and how to access this.

If you are a prospective student please visit the following pages for information on the pre-entry support we offer to Care Leavers:

One of our current students, Esther, has produced a short digital story about her experience coming to study at York as a Care Leaver. 

Things to know before you arrive

Application Support

You can contact us for support as early as you would like, even before you apply to York. We can talk you through the different course types and offer advice on which course might be right for you as well as guidance on writing your personal statement.


The University of York Access Scheme aims to improve access to the University for applicants who have faced challenging circumstances. Through the Access Scheme you can provide additional information which will be considered alongside your UCAS application.


Financial Support

We offer a Care Leavers' Bursary to students who meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • You are studying an Undergraduate degree course
  • You are a Home UK student
  • You will be under 25 on the first day of your university course
  • At anypoint from the age of 16 to the start of your course you have not been under the legal care of your parents AND for three months or more you have been in the custody of, in legal care of, or have been given accommodation by a Local Authority.

The value of the Care Leavers’ Bursary is as follows:

  • Year 1: £3,000
  • Year 2: £2,500
  • Final year: £2,500 plus £1,000 to be paid in term three to assist with graduation and interview costs.

Flexible accommodation contracts 

Please be aware that, when applying for accommodation owned or managed by the University, you can include shorter let lengths in your preference list, even if you think you may need to live in York over the summer. This is because you can apply to live on campus over some or all of the summer period (July - September 2019) in Term 3 (April - May 2019).  Many first year students move into private sector housing in the summer. As you don't yet know what your plans will be, at this stage you may wish to keep your options open by selecting a 40 or 44 week let length rather than 50 weeks.  All of these let lengths cover Christmas and Easter vacations. If you choose a 38 week let length you would need to move all your belongings out of your room for 2 weeks over Easter.


The accommodation guarantee deadline for first year undergraduates (applicants who have York as either their Firm or Insurance choice) is 31 July. If you are applying for accommodation after this date please put a note in the 'Supporting Comments' section of your application explaining that you are a care leaver and Accommodation Services will give you higher priority.


Please visit our care leavers accommodation page for further information.

Starting University

Support with transition to University

Starting university is a daunting time for most students. The care leavers’ contact will be in touch with you regularly during the few weeks before you start at York and continuing through your first term here. The care leavers’ contact can support you with the logistics of organising your move to York and ensuring you have everything you need in your accommodation.


Student Buddying Scheme

Through the Student Buddying Scheme you will be put in touch with a second or third year student. This student buddy/ mentor will help you settle into university life and get the most out of your first year here.



Support while you're studying at York

In addition to the Financial Support and Flexible Accommodation Contracts, detailed under 'Things to know before you arrive', there is other support, detailed below, available to ensure you get the most out of your time at University. 

Support renting private sector accommodation

After your first year at York you may decide to rent shared private sector accommodation that requires a UK based rent guarantor. If you don’t have a UK based guarantor, the University will either act as your guarantor through the Rent Guarantee Scheme, or will cover the administration fee charged by a private rent guarantor service (e.g Housing Hand), in order to enable you to rent in the private sector.


Study skills support

The academic support office can help you develop a number of key study skills to improve your academic experience, including skills in academic reading and writing, IT and maths and delivering a presentation.


Careers Advice and Employment Support

As a Care Leaver you will be guaranteed an interview for the role of Student Ambassador, as long as you complete the application form to the best of your abilities. The Student Ambassador role is a flexible, paid, part-time position where you will be an ambassador for the University and a role model for prospective students. In addition to this role being a great opportunity to earn some money, it will also help you develop skills in communication, team work, social and cultural awareness and problem solving.


You will also be able to access support relating to careers and employment. 


Pastoral support 

In addition to the support you will receive from the care leavers’ contact, there are plenty of people you can approach for advice or a chat when you are at York, including your college team, your academic supervisorYUSU, Open Door and Disability and colleagues in the Student Hub.

Please note, we can also offer some support to care leavers studying at York who are from outside the UK. Please get in touch with our care leavers’ contact for more information. 

Dedicated contact

You'll have access to a single point of contact both before you get here and during your studies at York.

Our care leavers' contact can:

  • Help with any questions you may have about our courses and what it's like to study at York
  • Act as a link between you and your local authority
  • Facilitate a visit to the University for you (including covering any transport costs)
  • Offer emotional and practical support throughout your studies and direct you to other appropriate University services.

Joanna Paluch-Edwards is the key contact for care leavers. If you indicated on your UCAS form that you have spent time in care Joanna will automatically be in touch with you. However, you can also contact Joanna at any time (even if you did not disclose your care leaver status on your UCAS application) if you have any questions or concerns relating to university life. Joanna’s contact details are:

Email address:

Phone number: +44 (0)1904 324140