Accessibility statement

Support for care leavers

Care Leaver Covenant

We are committed to providing the support our students need so that everyone achieves their full potential and has an exceptional and transformational experience.

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

New students

Sign up for a Student Buddy

Register to attend Step Ahead

Find out about the people on hand to support and help you and ways you can get involved.

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

Find extra information in our leaflet: 
Support for care leavers and estranged students (PDF , 486kb)

Having a dedicated contact for care leavers really made me feel warmly welcomed to the university. I believe that having this contact is a huge contributing factor as to why I love York. It means I have someone to talk to who is aware of the help I am entitled to and I don't have to explain my past for them to understand my point of view."

- Current student

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
  • You have care leaver status and have been assessed as a care leaver by student finance. This means you will have been in care for at least 13 weeks at any time since the age of 14(the period of 13 weeks does not need to be all in one go).  If you are unsure whether you have care leaver status you should check with your leaving care team or personal adviser; you can also get more information on our pages. If you haven’t been assessed as a care leaver by student finance but you think you meet the criteria please get in touch with Fran by emailing or phoning 01904 324140.

The bursary can be used towards a range of opportunities or activities. Examples include (this is not an exhaustive list): driving lessons, childcare, funding an internship, travel costs, study materials, and Students’ Union society activities.

Contextual admissions

We welcome and encourage talented students from all backgrounds to apply to York. We are pleased to tell you that as a care leaver, we can offer you a contextual offer. Contextual offers aim to provide a fair chance of getting into York. They allow us to look at more than exam results in the application process. This means that you can get an offer that is 1 to 2 grades lower (please note that a reduced offer will not be lower than BBC or equivalent). This also means that you will be guaranteed an invitation to interview by any departments that undertake interviews, and you may get a lower offer based on your interview. 

Our Covenant Pledge

You can find out more about our commitment to support care leavers by reading our Care Leaver Covenant Pledge.

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

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. 

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 can access personalised information and advice from an experienced team of staff, both on campus in the Careers and Placements building and remotely via phone, email and Skype. Appointments can be booked via Handshake.

We would encourage and support you to take up a wide range of opportunities available to you at York which build your readiness to find, compete for and secure the career options you want. The York Futures Scholarship programme will enable you to take full advantage of the many exciting personal and professional development opportunities such as work experience, placements, study abroad and placement year. Through the programme, you can apply for financial and practical support to suit your ambitions at the different stages of your time at York. For instance, we would encourage you to consider a year in industry or year abroad study and/or work option for which you could be eligible for an award of £6,000.

Free Sports Membership

You can make the most of our facilities at the York Sport Village and York Sport Centre, with a free off-peak membership or discounted full membership. Our dedicated contact will be in touch with you to offer this at the beginning of the academic year. 

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. 


Free year round accommodation for the duration of your course

We will offer free accommodation (currently capped at £130 per week), 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
  • You have care leaver status and have been assessed as a care leaver by student finance. 

For students in their first year, the free accommodation applies to living on campus. Continuing students can choose whether to apply this to either on-campus, or off-campus accommodation.

The package is available for each year of full-time study for the duration of the course, reduced by 50% for full-year sandwich placements or study abroad years.

Flexible accommodation contracts 

If you have accepted either a firm or insurance place at York and apply for University accommodation by 31 July, we guarantee you an offer of a room owned, managed or approved by the University. You'll be able to stay in University accommodation for 365 days of the year should you need to.

The sooner we know that you're a registered care leaver, the better we'll be able to help. Even if you're making a late application, let us know your situation as soon as possible. Our 40 and 44-week lets cover both the Easter and Christmas holiday while our 50-week lets cover summer too. Even If you want to live in York over the summer, you can still include shorter let lengths in your preferences. You can apply to live on campus for the summer nearer the time.

Many students will move into private sector accommodation for their second year. As you won't know what your plans are yet, we'd advise you to select a 40 or 44-week let length to keep your options open. If you choose one of these shorter let lengths, we still guarantee you a room over the summer so that you can stay longer if you would like to. We suggest you don't choose a 38-week let length as this would mean moving your belongings out of your room during Easter.

We understand you may require additional information to help make your accommodation choices and are happy to discuss individual requirements. You can get in touch via email at or by phone on +44 (0)1904 322165. Please visit our accommodation web page for further information.


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 act as your guarantor through the Rent Guarantee Scheme


Dedicated contact

Support with transition to university - dedicated contact

Starting university is a daunting time for most students. At York, we have a dedicated care leavers’ contact so that you have a single point of contact both before you get here and during your studies at York. Fran Hornsby is the key contact for all new care leavers. If you have indicated on your UCAS form that you are a care leaver, Fran will automatically be in touch with you. However, you can also contact her 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.

Fran can:

  • help with any further 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 tailored visit to the University where she will meet you and discuss what support will be available to you
  • meet with you when you start at York
  • offer emotional and practical support throughout your studies and direct you to other appropriate University services
  • keep you updated with news and opportunities through a monthly newsletter
  • put you in touch with other care leavers at the university, if you would like this. There are a number of social activities that you can go along to - they are a fun and informal way to meet other care leavers
  • put you in touch with a current student who can meet you on arrivals day, help you settle in and take you for lunch. Where possible, this student will also be a care leaver
  • offer you tailored budgeting advice that will help you manage your money effectively and meet your essential costs, whilst still being able to enjoy yourself!

Fran’s contact details:
Email address:

Phone number: +44 (0)1904 324140

We recognise that you may not want to tell anyone else at the university that you are a care leaver. This information will be kept confidential and will only be shared if you give consent to share.