Most universities now have a key contact for Care Leavers and Estranged students. They will usually be based within Student Support Departments.
If you disclosed that you were a care leaver on your UCAS application, then the support services will probably get in touch with you prior to starting your course. If you didn’t disclose, or if you are estranged and haven’t had the opportunity to disclose, please do get in contact with the Support Services at your university to see what help and support you are entitled to.
You may have been officially through the care system, or if the estrangement happened later in your teens, you might not have had any dealings with Social Service whatsoever.
What you can get help with:
• Support with applying for student funding, including making an application and liaising with your funding body if there are any problems.
• Assist you in managing your money while at university;
• Support with academic related issues including liaising with your academic department / course tutors.
• Assist with any housing issues: finding accommodation, problems with landlords etc.
• Sign-posting towards other University services
• Applying for additional sources of funding such as the Financial Contingency Fund/Hardship Funds and charitable trusts.
• Or simply just someone to talk to if you need to.
General Student Funding:
If you have been in care or can prove estrangement from your parents, you will be treated as an ‘independent’ student and eligible for full student funding. If you have been in care, a letter from your Social Worker is all you would need as evidence.
Proving estrangement can be a bit more problematic and may require a variety of evidence. For instance, a letter from your school/FE college if someone in authority was aware of your situation. These cases are looked at on a case by case basis but the university support services can help you with this. There is also an organisation called StandAlone that has really good information for students and advice about how to prove estrangement: http://standalone.org.uk/
Care Leaver Bursary at Cardiff University:
Most universities will have a Care leaver Bursary scheme. At Cardiff University the scheme is open to Care leavers and students who have been irreconcilably estranged from their parents. Please see below for details and eligibility to the scheme. Please check with individual HE providers