Care experienced and estranged students

If you are currently in care or have experience of being in care, you could benefit from schemes to help you progress to higher education and receive extra support throughout your time at Leeds.

We're committed to helping more care leavers and care-experienced students come to University. We understand that as a student who has experienced time in care you may have different concerns to other students. We are here to help you throughout your course, whether it’s just for a chat or to share concerns you may have about your application, finance arrangements, accommodation, or your course.

Estranged students 

We also offer support to students who are estranged from their parents, meaning they have no relationship or physical or financial support from them. We have formally signed a pledge with StandAlone, a charity that works with estranged adults of all ages, but has particularly called on universities to support estranged students. We offer four areas of support as part of the pledge:

  • finance
  • accommodation
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • outreach and transition.

If you are applying to the University of Leeds as a care experienced or estranged student, or supporting someone who is, please complete our quick care experienced and estranged students form with your details so that we can contact you about our support.

Reach for Excellence

You could be eligible for our two-year Reach for Excellence programme if your studying has been affected by your personal, economic or geographic circumstances but you have the potential to study at a top university

You should live within a commutable distance of the University and be able to attend regular events on campus.

Access to Leeds

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme, which you may benefit from if you have experienced time in care or you are estranged. You must be living permanently in the UK, have the potential to study at the University of Leeds and meet two or more of the criteria, which include having spent time in care.

The Plus Programme

All care-experienced and estranged students are eligible to join the Plus Programme, which is a support scheme for UK-fee paying undergraduate and postgraduate taught students who come from backgrounds that are less represented at university. We are here to make sure you have access to all the opportunities at Leeds and to help you achieve everything you want while you’re here.

You can find out more about the wide range of support on offer through the programme on the Plus Programme web pages.


Students who have experience of being in care or are estranged are prioritised when we select students to receive our competitive means-tested scholarships (but you must still apply for these by the deadline of 20 May 2022 for 2022 entry). If not awarded a scholarship, UK Home Rated care experienced and estranged students on full time courses will usually qualify for funding from the University through the Leeds Bursary.

The Financial Assistance Fund may also offer additional financial support to students who are leaving care or are estranged to help them to succeed in higher education.


If you are leaving the care of your local authority to come to University, or you are estranged, our Accommodation office can offer you:

  • A guaranteed place in University-owned accommodation (if you applied before the deadline of 1 July – if you miss this deadline contact Accommodation immediately).
  • 365-day accommodation (but we cannot guarantee you will be in the same room for the whole period).
  • A waiver of the upfront security deposit for University-owned accommodation.

You will need to provide evidence of your status to the Accommodation Office. If you are a care leaver this could be a letter from your Personal Adviser/Social Worker or Pathway Worker. If you are care-experienced or estranged, we can provide an email as evidence. If you are unsure of the evidence needed to confirm your circumstances, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lisa Firth in the Plus Programme team.

If you include information about your personal circumstances on your accommodation application form it will be dealt with as a priority. If you are not specifically leaving care to come to University but are estranged from your family, we may be able to help you by allowing you to pay your security deposit at a later date rather than upfront.

We understand everyone has individual needs and we are keen to make sure we help you wherever possible.

Further information

If you have a question or would like more information, please contact Lisa Firth in the Plus Programme team by: