Accessibility statement

Support for care experienced students and care leavers

The term 'care experienced' refers to anyone who has been, or is currently, in care. This care may have been provided in many different settings, including living with foster carers; living in a residential children's home; being looked after at home under a supervision order; living with friends or relatives in kinship care.

If you are a prospective student we offer pre-entry support to Care Experienced Students:

Care Leaver Covenant

The term 'care leaver' means that you are care experienced and that you will have been in the care of your local authority for at least 13 weeks at any time since the age of 14 (the 13 weeks does not need to have been all one go). This care will have finished on, or after, your 16th birthday. 

If you are unsure whether you have care leaver status, you can check with your leaving care team, personal adviser or see the Coram Voice website for more support. If you haven’t been assessed as a care leaver by Student Finance but think you meet the criteria, please get in touch by emailing or phoning +44 (0)1904 324140. 

One of our recent graduates, Esther, produced a short digital story about her experience coming to study at York as a care leaver and you can also find out more about our support for care experienced students by watching this YouTube video.

"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

Support before you arrive

You can hear our students talking about the support on offer by watching this YouTube video.

Our Access and Outreach Team offers specific support, advice and guidance to care experienced students at the pre-entry stage. Our dedicated Access and Outreach ManagerVanessa Conman, is here to support you in thinking about your future and pathways to university.

Vanessa’s contact details:

Email address:

Phone number: +44 (0)1904 326648

 As a care experienced young person you have access to the following:

  • VIP Visit Package
  • Pre-entry bursaryAny care experienced young person between the ages of 16-25 can apply for either £50, £100 or £250.
  • Bespoke support and advice covering general information about university, your options, student finance, your application and student support. This can be provided in person, over the phone or on video call. Arrange a session.
  • A personalised campus tour with a current university student (who will ideally also be an Independent Student)
  • Application and personal statement advice and support
  • Priority places on one of our Access and Outreach programmes eg Shine, Roots to Success, YorWay to York or Next Step York
  • Priority places on one of our summer schools, like the York Experience Summer School. 
  • Free gym membership at our two on-campus sport centres (for those who are 16-25 and live in York or North Yorkshire)

On Track programme 

On Track is our dedicated outreach programme aimed at young people aged 10-25 who have had experience of being in care. This is currently for young people who live in York and North Yorkshire. On Track is run in partnership with FutureHY and other local education partners. 

If you live outside of York and North Yorkshire, we have a programme of online activities to support you in thinking about your future. Please get in touch with us for more information. 

Foster their Future 
We are delighted to announce a new programme aimed at foster carers, called Foster Their Future, launching in November 2022. The programme aims to increase foster carers’ knowledge of higher education so they feel better able to support young people to make informed choices. It will specifically focus on the support available for care experienced young people at university and involve insights from current care experienced students. It’s also an opportunity to learn from the individual experiences of foster carers and to provide peer support and advice. Participants can be involved in fostering children of any age. 

The course will take place online over Zoom, with one session per month for six months (November 2022 - April 2023). There will be the option to join the morning cohort (10.30 am-12 pm) or the evening cohort (7.00pm - 8.30 pm). There will also be an optional visit to the University of York campus at the end of the programme. The programme, including the campus visit, will be completely free for participants to take part in. Please take a look at this flyer, which contains the session dates and a link to the registration form. We really hope you'll join us!

Contextual admissions

We welcome and encourage talented students from all backgrounds to apply to York. Not everyone has had an equal opportunity to demonstrate their ability at school or college. Barriers can include the type of school you attended, where you live and other social and economic factors. Contextual offers promote fairness – they allow us to look at more than just exam results to assess potential and recognise achievements in context.

We are pleased to tell you that as a care experienced student, you are eligible to be considered for a contextual offer. This means that you may get an offer that is up to two grades lower than the typical offer published in our prospectus. It also means that you could be considered for a guaranteed interview to study. 

Additionally, if you successfully complete one of our Access and Outreach programmes, you could be guaranteed an interview or offer to study at York and may also be eligible for an alternative Widening Participation offer up to three grades below the typical offer. To find out more about our widening participation programmes, contact Vanessa.

We can also offer advice and signposting if you do not receive an offer, or do not meet your offer. 

Sign up for our newsletter

Are you a professional who supports care experienced students? We send out a quarterly newsletter to keep partners at local authorities and other organisations up to date with our work in this area. Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Starting university

Support with transition to university

Starting university is a daunting time for most students. Our dedicated contact for care experienced students will be in touch with you regularly during the few weeks before you start at York and continuing throughout your time with us. The dedicated contact can support you with the logistics of organising your move to York, and ensuring you have everything you need in your accommodation. This includes offering you with a free kitchen and bedding pack, suitcase for bringing your belongings, and we can contribute financially to your moving costs. 

Student Buddying Scheme

Through our student buddying scheme, you can be put in touch with a second or third year student who will help you settle into university life and get the most out of your first year here.

Step Ahead

The Step Ahead induction programme is designed to support new undergraduate students with their transition to university life and give them the best possible start at York. As a care experienced student, your attendance is welcomed.

Support while you're studying

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 UK student, with a 'Home' fee status. If you're unsure whether you're classed as a UK or international student for fee purposes, check your fee status
  • 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

The bursary can be used towards a range of opportunities or activities including: driving lessons, funding an internship, travel costs, study materials, childcare and Students’ Union society activities.

* A Care Leaver is someone who has been in the care of the Local Authority for a period of 13 weeks or more, and spanning their 16th birthday. 

York Opportunity Scholarship

The York Opportunity Scholarship has been established to provide support to talented students who have the academic potential to study at York and who have faced significant barriers to their educational goals.

Travel awards

We have a number of financial awards for students wishing to pursue organised and independent international travel projects during their studies. When you come to York you'll be given information and invited to events where you can find out about funding and the international experiences that are on offer.

Further sources of information on funding, bursaries and grants can be found here:

Careers advice and employment support

As a care experienced student, you will be prioritised for 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 Zoom. 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 available to you, such as work experience, placements, study abroad and placement years. 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 dedicated contact for care experienced students, there are plenty of people you can approach for advice or a chat when you are at York, including your college team, your academic supervisor, YUSU, Open Door teamDisability services and colleagues in the Student Hub.

We can also offer support to care experienced students studying at York who are from outside the UK. Please get in touch with our dedicated contact for more information. 


Accommodation subsidy for the duration of your course

We will offer an accommodation subsidy (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 UK student, with a 'Home' fee status. If you're unsure whether you're classed as a UK or international student for fee purposes, check your fee status
  • 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

Depending on which accommodation you choose, this means that your accommodation could be entirely free, and gives you the flexibility to choose something which you feel will suit you best. 

For example, if you choose accommodation which costs £147 per week, once the subsidy has been applied of £130, the cost to you would be £17 per week. 

For students in their first year, the accommodation subsidy 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.

* A Care Leaver is someone who has been in the care of the Local Authority for a period of 13 weeks or more, and spanning their 16th birthday. 

Flexible accommodation contracts

For new undergraduate students, if you accept York as your firm or insurance choice and apply for University accommodation by 8 June 2023, we guarantee you an offer of a room owned, managed or approved by the University. You'll also 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 care experienced student, 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 if you choose to do this.

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.

The university usually asks for a £200 payment after you accept your room offer. However, we can defer the payment until your first term's rent is due in October. Please let us know if you would like to defer payment in the supporting comments section when you apply for accommodation. 

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.

Storage of belongings

We can pay for storage of your belongings during the summer break or if you decide to do a sandwich placements or study abroad year.

Dedicated contact

Support with transition to university - dedicated contact

Starting university is a daunting time for most students. At York, we have a dedicated contact for care experienced students, so that you have a single point of contact both before you get here and during your studies at York. Our new dedicated contact will be joining the Student Support team in June 2023. If you have indicated on your UCAS form that you are a care experienced student, our dedicated contact will automatically be in touch with you. However, you can also get in touch at anytime if you have any questions or concerns relating to university life (even if you did not disclose your care experienced status on your UCAS application).

Our dedicated contact 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 they 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 weekly communications
  • put you in touch with other care experienced students 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 experienced students.
  • 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 experienced student
  • offer you tailored budgeting advice that will help you manage your money effectively and meet your essential costs, while still being able to enjoy yourself!

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 experienced student. This information will be kept confidential and will only be shared if you give consent to share.