Young people in care and care leavers

The University is committed to supporting young people in care and care leavers to realise their full potential through higher education study. We are delighted to have been holders of the Buttle Quality Mark for Care Leavers from 2011-2014 and we continue to work with young people, carers, foster families, social services, virtual schools and other organisations to support progression to the University.


The University has strong links with local authorities in the South West and with the Devon Leaving Care service and The Hope, Bristol's Virtual School for Children in Care, in particular. On our Penryn Campus in Cornwall our staff work closely with colleagues at Falmouth University and the Cornwall 16+ team.

We organise events each year specifically to bring young people in care, care leavers, social workers and carers onto the University campus to experience what being at a university might be like. There is also an excellent link between the University’s Drama department and the Devon Leaving Care Team which has resulted in a number of projects over the last few years.

In addition, young people in care are a target group for all of our widening participation activities and, in particular are welcome onto our two flagship outreach programmes – Exeter Progression (formally STAR programme) and Realising Opportunities.

Applying as a care leaver

During our Admissions processes 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 your application. This might mean that you are made an offer at the lower end of the grade range, or you may be made an ‘aspirational’ offer if your predicted grades aren’t quite in line with our expected levels. In addition, some GCSE requirements may be waived.


If you indicate on your UCAS form that you are a Care Leaver, you will be contacted for further information to help us establish if you meet the criteria for Care Leavers as defined in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. We will also make sure that you are aware of the financial and pastoral support that we offer to Care Leavers.

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.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria to be considered a Care Leaver as defined in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 you may not be eligible for the full financial support package but you will still be offered pastoral support if you have particular needs or concerns.

We will also provide a contact within our Accommodation Office if you have specific requirements that you want us to consider when allocating your accommodation. If you have any specific needs that are not already being met by your local authority, we provide funding to meet these costs.

Information about these sources of funding is available on our finance pages

Independent advice on funding is available from the Students’ Guild Advice Unit. The Guild is also looking to form a Care Leavers’ Support group, facilitated by the Advice Unit but offering peer support and this should be in place for the start of the next academic year.


If you are considering higher education and need advice and guidance please contact us. 

For information about the support offered by the University:

Magdalena Katomeri

Welfare Team


For independent information and advice:

Emma Wilson
Student Adviser - The Guild