In care/Care leavers

Money for higher level study

The cost of going on to university may seem scary but it is important to remember that the student finance systems are there to help. You do not need to find any money upfront!

Financial support available to all students

Financial support in the form of loans and bursaries, scholarships and fee waivers are available to pay for your course and living costs at university. You will not need to pay back any money until you have finished your course and are earning over £21,000 per year. If your income drops below £21,000 per year at any time your repayments will stop until your earnings rise above £21,000 per year again.

If you drop out of your course early, you will still have to pay back your student loan and will probably have to pay back any bursaries or other loans that you have received.

The funding available is for higher education courses, so you should still get the same financial support if you study a higher education course at a university or college. However, sometimes studying full-time or part-time can make a difference to the amount of funding you can get.

For more about the funding available for studying.

Money from Local Authorities for care leavers

As a care leaver you may be entitled to financial support from your local authority. The amount of support you can receive will depend on the length of time you were in care, the education you have undertaken before and which local authority provided your care. You should get in touch with your local authority and ask them for a copy of their written policy for financial support for care leavers and ask them how they can support you.

It’s really important that your Pathway Plan includes your aspiration to go to university. Pathway Plans are agreements between you and the local authority they outline the support they will give you. If it’s not written in your plan it can be difficult to get the authority to provide it. Don’t panic if your plan doesn’t mention university – talk to your personal advisor to request it is included along with the support they are able to give you.

If you are a care leaver from England or Wales starting higher education study for the first time before your 25th birthday, then you are entitled to a one-off bursary of a minimum of £2,000 from your local authority. This may be paid in a lump sum or in instalments. The timings of bursary payments are agreed between the care leaver and the local authority. You will need to apply to your local authority for this bursary. It does not have to be repaid!

Many Universities offer additional support including bursaries to care leavers. Find put more from UCASand Propel.

More information

For more information on university costs and student loan details, check out the following links: