Care leavers and care experienced students

Care leavers

A care leaver is a young person under the age of 25 who has spent time in local authority care (such as foster care, or residential children's homes). A care leaver will be eligible for support from the local authority's Leaving Care Team once they turn 18 and will be currently supported by a local authority when they enrol at Kingston University. If you are unsure of your eligibility or are a current student please contact us to discuss your situation.

Financial support

Care Leavers who enrol at Kingston University and have been assessed as 'home' for fee purposes are eligible to receive a non-repayable Care Leaver bursary of £1,500 per progressive year of study, as well as priority for the Kingston Bursary if all of the criteria are met. Please note that this is in addition to any other entitlement to financial support you may have.

Accommodation

Care Leaver students are given priority for a place in halls and access to 365-day accommodation is available on request. We can also provide support if you wish to live in private accommodation, and signpost you to relevant services for comprehensive housing advice.

Graduation and outduction

We support care leavers at graduation, by providing free gown hire, a free photography package and two free guest tickets. We also host a dinner to celebrate the successes of our students, and award a £1,000 graduation bursary upon successful completion of your degree and following an 'outduction' meeting with the KU Cares team.

Verification and eligibility

In order to be eligible for this support you will need to apply for KU Cares and provide us with evidence that you have spent time in care and continue to be supported by your local authority. A letter from your social worker or personal advisor would be sufficient. If you have questions about this please contact us for support.

How do I apply for this support?

Register your interest by applying for KU Cares, please ensure you tick the box declaring that you are a local authority care leaver/estranged. You can also contact us with any questions you have and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Care experienced students

A care experienced student is someone who has spent any amount of time in local authority care, such as foster care or residential children's homes, but may not meet the definition of a care leaver.

Financial support, verification and eligibility

Care experienced students are encouraged to apply for the Kingston Bursary, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. If finances are a concern, our KU Cares Advisors, will help link you up with dedicated Money Advisors who can help ensure that you're accessing all the financial support that you are eligible for, and offer guidance and support if you are experiencing financial hardship.

Care experienced students who do not meet any other KU Cares criteria, do not need to provide evidence to be accepted onto the scheme. If you have any specific questions or would like some advice and guidance, please contact us and one of the team will get back to you.

Accommodation

KU Cares can help care experienced students access Kingston University halls of residence if needed. We can also provide support if you wish to live in private accommodation, and signpost you to relevant services for comprehensive housing advice.

Graduation and outduction

To help you meet the cost of graduation, we encourage care experienced students to apply for the University's Graduation support fund if they meet all the criteria. Care experienced students can attend an 'outduction' to help you plan your next steps after university.

How do I apply for this support?

Register your interest by applying for KU Cares, please ensure you tick the box declaring that you are a local authority care leaver/estranged.

Specialist support for care leavers and care experienced students

Our dedicated and experienced KU Cares team will be available to support you through your application, enrolment, your time at University and through to graduation. As well as a designated member of staff, the KU Cares team can advocate on your behalf throughout the University and within your local authority. We also signpost students to other opportunities to earn money and enhance your CV.

Here are some examples of how you can get involved at Kingston University:

Information for practitioners

If you are working with a care leaver or care experienced young person, that is looking to make an application to University, or to Kingston specifically, and you would like some guidance around applications, student finance, etc. then please get in touch with us.

If you work for a local authority, virtual school or work with looked after children please note that we provide Higher Education training and events for looked after children, please contact us to find out more.

Contact the KU Cares team

If you would like to get in touch with the KU Cares team, please email KUcares@kingston.ac.uk.