Financial support for care experienced students

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Financial support for care experienced students

What financial support is available for estranged students in higher education?

We understand that managing finances and navigating the student experience independently as a care experienced student can be complicated. Remember, LEAPS are here to help. You can call or email our named contact for estranged students, Sarah Austen, if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach Sarah at or by phone (see details on our contact us page).


If you plan to begin an HNC, HND or university, you should apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to help fund your studies. It is recommended that you complete an application to SAAS between April and the end of June in the year you plan to begin your studies. You can apply for:

  • Tuition fees
  • A Care Experienced Students Bursary (which can help with living or accommodation costs)
  • A Care Experienced Accommodation Grant (to help with accommodation costs in the summer holidays)

You do not have to pay the above SAAS funds back.

SAAS currently defines a student as care experienced if:

  • You have ever been looked after by a Local Authority in the UK; and
  • You are under 26 on the first day of the first academic year of your course

Keep an eye out for updated SAAS funding guides for the most up-to-date funding information. The SAAS 2020-2021 funding guide will be published on the SAAS website when available. 

Scholarships and Bursaries

You may also be eligible for extra funding in the form of bursaries or scholarships. These are financial awards that do not have to be paid back, and are available from lots of different organisations including universities and educational trusts.

As well as more general scholarships and bursaries which you might be eligible to apply for (find out more about these in our Student Finance blog post), universities and colleges sometimes offer financial support specifically to care experienced students. We've provided some links below to help you start looking into these opportunities. We’d always recommend that you contact the college or university you are interested in if you have any queries about the support they offer to care experienced students, so that they can provide you with up-to-date information. Find a list of the named point of contact at every university in Scotland here, including contact details.

University of Aberdeen
Abertay University
University of Dundee
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh Napier University
University of Glasgow
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow School Art
Heriot-Watt University
University of the Highlands and Islands
Queen Margaret University
Robert Gordon University
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
University of St Andrew’s
University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
University of the West of Scotland

Borders College
City of Glasgow College
Edinburgh College
Fife College
Forth Valley College
Glasgow Clyde College
Glasgow Kelvin College
New College Lanarkshire
West Lothian College

Student Accommodation

If you do go to university, you may choose to continue living where you are, and to commute to and from the campus, or you may choose to move into new accommodation, whatever feels right for you!

If you are thinking of moving away from home into new accommodation one of the main things to consider is how you will fund this. This could be purpose built student accommodation, a student flat or another type of tenancy.  Again, it’s a good idea to check out if the universities you are applying to offer any support, as often they will have a policy in place for helping care experienced students with accommodation. For example, some universities partner with the Unite Foundation to offer the Unite Foundation Scholarship, which gives free year-round accommodation to care experienced and estranged students. Find out more about the Unite Foundation Scholarship here.

Don’t be shy about contacting universities to ask if they can offer you any accommodation support as a care experienced student. Even if the Unite Foundation Scholarship is not offered at the university you are applying to, try asking the care experienced named contact if they have any other accommodation support available which could help you – it is always worth asking!

Another organisation which may be able to help with accommodation is the Rock Trust, which has been providing housing support to young people since 1991. Find out more about the housing support they can offer here.

Other Sources of Financial Support

The Care Leavers Foundation
The Robertson Trust