Support for Care Experienced Students Considering HE

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Support for Care Experienced Students Considering HE

If you are care experienced (see here for an explanation of the term care experienced from Who Cares? Scotland) and you are considering applying to college or university, please remember that there is a range of support available to help you access and continue in higher education. This support varies across institutions, so it can be a bit confusing, but we’ve put together some information below to help you begin thinking about what you might want to research further.

If you are care experienced and have any queries about the information below, or about higher education in general, please get in touch with us here at LEAPS so that we can help you.

Find a list of the named point of contact at every university in Scotland here, including contact details.

Top Tip: Colleges and universities sometimes use the phrase care leavers instead of care experienced, so be sure to look out for this and do check with the institution directly if you’re unsure if their definition applies to you. The support available to you as a result of being care experienced and/or a care leaver can make a big difference!

SAAS Financial Support

New and continuing care experienced students undertaking an eligible undergraduate course will be eligible to apply to SAAS (the Student Awards Agency for Scotland) for:

  • a funding package of tuition fees
  • a non-income assessed Care Experienced Students Bursary (which can help with living costs)
  • a Care Experienced Accommodation Grant (to help with accommodation costs in the long [summer] vacation)

SAAS 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 (for most students, who start in the autumn term, the relevant date is 1 August)

If you meet this criteria, you should select the Care Experienced Student Bursary box on the on-line SAAS application to confirm this.
Find out more about the financial support available via SAAS to eligible care experienced students here.

Other Financial Support

​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. These are available from lots of different organisations, including universities and educational trusts. Read out S6 Blog post here to find out more about these and ask any colleges or universities you are thinking of applying to.

UCAS Tick Box

If you are care experienced, we’d suggest that you tick the box in the care questions section of the UCAS application form so that the colleges and universities you are applying to know from the point of your application that you are care experienced. Find out more about this UCAS tick box here. This means that colleges and universities can consider the type of offers that they make to you in the context of your care experienced background, and there may be support available specifically for care experienced students. This will vary by institution, and it’s up to you if you take up any offers or support available, but it’s good to be informed about it – then you can make your choice as to whether or not it’s the right thing for you. Take a look at the UCAS video below to hear the views of some care experienced students on the support they received.


College and University Support

Colleges and universities differ in their definition of care experienced students, so it’s worthwhile researching who they consider to be care experienced and what support they offer them.

To help you get started with this, we’ve pulled together some links to the relevant sections of some college and university websites below:

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
Edinburgh College
Forth Valley College
Fife College

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.

HUB for SUCCESS: supporting those with care experience to get in, stay in, or return to education

The HUB for SUCCESS (Support for University and College for Care Experienced in South East Scotland) is a collaborative project concerned with improving post-school educational outcomes for people of all ages with experience of care in the South East region of Scotland. Find out more here and if you have any queries please contact the HUB via Lorraine Moore on 07542229883 or or Shona McIntosh on 07395605311 or (working days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). The HUB is located at Floor 6, 249 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PN.

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