Children in care

The University of Exeter is committed to supporting young people in care and care leavers to realise their full potential through higher education study. The University of Exeter follows the definition of care leaver used in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. This is ‘someone who has been in the care of the Local Authority for a period of 13 weeks or more spanning their 16th birthday’.

If you are a teacher or carer supporting a care leaver who is applying to the University of Exeter, you may want to familiarise yourself with the support that we offer.

Pre entry support

We organise events each year to specifically bring young people in care, care leavers, social workers and carers onto the university campus to experience what being at university might be like. Young people in care are a target group for all of our widening participation activities and in particular are welcome onto two flagship outreach programmes Realising Opportunities and Exeter Scholars, a programme which offers bright young people from non-privileged backgrounds a guaranteed pathway to a place at a research-led university.

Open Days

The University will also reimburse travel expenses for care-experienced students wishing to attend the Exeter campuses and/or the Penryn Campus Open Days.

Applications and Admissions

We encourage applicants to state their care leaver status in the additional information section on the UCAS application form. This information will be used to monitor their application process and help us establish if they meet the criteria for Care Leavers as defined in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. We can make sure that students are aware of the financial and pastoral support that we offer. 

During our admissions process we recognise the impact that being in care can have on a student’s attainment and this may be taken into account when we are considering their application. This could mean that they are made an offer at the lower end of the grade range, or they be made an ‘aspirational’ offer if their predicted grades aren’t quite in line with our expected levels. In addition, some GCSE requirements may be waived.


Care leavers are usually classified as independent students and would therefore qualify for the maximum levels of government and institutional financial support. Although our package of financial support is subject to change from year to year care leavers have been entitled to a full fee waiver for all years of study since 2012, as well as generous bursary support.

Fee Waiver

Care leavers starting undergraduate or PGCE courses at the University of Exeter will not have to pay tuition fees. As long as the student identifies themselves as a care leaver on their UCAS application, the university will contact them for further information.

Care Leaver Bursary

The bursary is intended to help students with the cost of accommodation during the summer vacation period after their first and subsequent years of study (but not final year). The bursary amount is not fixed, but is decided by taking into account the additional cost of their accommodation needs.

Information about these sources of funding is available on our finances pages.


We will provide a contact within our Accommodation Office for care leavers who have specific requirements that they want us to consider when allocating their accommodation. For care leavers in the local area who are holding an offer at the University of Exeter, a support meeting will be arranged to discuss a student’s accommodation options. Once the accommodation needs have been established, the university’s named contact for care leavers will liaise with the Accommodation Office to try and secure appropriate accommodation, including 365 day accommodation should this be required.

Support meeting

Once a student has accepted a place at the University of Exeter, we offer a one to one meeting with the University’s named contact for care leavers. They will help with advice and support and signpost students for guidance on the following topics; careers, accessibility, wellbeing, accommodation and student finances.

 If you have any queries please contact:

Exeter Campuses

Natalie Bracher

Outreach Officer
WebEnquire online

Penryn Campus

Richard Prest

Outreach Officer