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Care Leavers

At Northumbria we understand university is a major transition and whilst it can be an exciting time, it can also feel quite overwhelming. For students who have experienced time in care, we understand you may have specific concerns or matters which are unique to other students, throughout your student journey to and whilst at Northumbria. For care leavers, there are a range of services available through NU Belong to support your journey to university, to help you settle in and throughout your time at Northumbria.

Northumbria University and Unite Foundation

We are working in partnership with the Unite Foundation on the ‘Home at University: Widening Access & Participation Pilot’.

The scholarships are open to students who are care leavers or estranged from their family, and who are applying for their first year of undergraduate study at Northumbria University starting in the academic year 2024/25. The scholarship covers accommodation and bills for 365 days a year for up to three years of study.

Find out more

At Northumbria University we define a care leaver as a young person under the age of 25 who:

  • Have 'former relevant care leaver status' according to the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. This status applies to people under the age of 25 who were 'looked after' by the local authority for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and ending after the age of 16.
  • Have been privately fostered up to the age of 18 – this arrangement must be for more than a two-month period.
  • Have been the subject of a 'special guardianship order', 'kinships fostering' and were 'looked after' immediately prior to the making of the order.

The university recognises that having experienced time in care you may face some unique challenges on your journey to university. As such, our Outreach Team can provide provide information and advice to support you from deciding if university is right for you, through to applying and transitioning to university.


As a care experienced student, you would likely be eligible for one of our supported entry schemes. These schemes offer a range of support and opportunities, to help students throughout their journey to Northumbria University. In addition to the information and support provided through the scheme, successful completion of one of the supported entry schemes enables students to earn supported entry scheme points, equivalent to UCAS tariff points, when applying to Northumbria university. 

For more information about these schemes and to apply, please visit our supported entry scheme webpage.

Northumbria University is a member of the North East Raising Aspiration Partnership (NERAP), a collaboration of the five universities in the North East of England, working together to support young people to think about their futures and how higher education can help them reach their goals.

To ensure support for care-experienced students is sustained throughout their higher education journey, all five universities have signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant as a regional partnership via the existing NERAP Partnership. This means that students who choose to study at any of the university Partners will be guaranteed continued support to access, succeed and progress.

The partnership offers a progressive programme of support for care-experienced students which forms part of the pre-entry support in the Regional Care Leaver Covenant Offer:

Choices Together the perfect opportunity to discover all about being a university student and what Higher Education could offer you in the future. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t thought about college or university – everyone is welcome! You can join the programme at any point from Year 7 up to Year 13 and can work with us throughout your educational journey. Sessions run from October-July and include both on-campus and online events. For further information about Choices Together, please click here.

Northumbria University is working in partnership with the Unite Foundation for September 2024.

APPLY NOW.  The deadline for applications is 23:59 on 14 June 2024.

The scholarships are open to students who are care leavers or estranged from their family, and who are applying for their first year of undergraduate study at Northumbria University starting in the academic year 2024/25.  The scholarship covers accommodation and bills for 365 days a year for up to three years of study.  It provides students with year-round, fit for purpose student accommodation that includes support of social integration, proactive well-being engagement and rapid responsiveness to welfare matters. 

Students applying must be:

  • Care leavers or students who are estranged from their parents and recognised as such by student finance  
  • Aged 25 or under on 1 September of the year of application
  • Undertaking first and only course of undergraduate study
  • Either holding a firm choice offer from the University
  • Entering their first year of their undergraduate degree at the start of the scholarship
  • UK home fee status student, i.e., not an international student
  • In receipt of, or applying for, student finance/NHS funding reflecting care leaver/care experienced/estranged student status

Study years not supported are:

  • Foundation Years
  • Years involving study credits toward a Masters whether that be Postgraduate or Integrated with a Bachelors
  • Repeat years
  • Repeat years arising because of changing courses
  • Years in which the student is aged 26 or older on 1 September  

Student Application Process:

APPLY NOW.  The deadline for applications is 23:59 on 14 June 2024.

All applicants need to either be in possession of a firm offer from Northumbria University.  They also need to meet the eligibility criteria outlined above and the terms and conditions of the scholarship.

For an informal chat about the scheme before applying, contact Sue Vout or

Care experienced students wishing to find out more and visit the university, should get in touch to discuss arranging an individual campus visit, which will also provide you with an opportunity to find out more about the bespoke support we offer for care experienced students.

We are here to support you throughout your journey to university and are able to provide information and advice for care experienced students on an individual basis throughout the application process.

If you are currently holding an offer with us and require any support or have any questions about the transition, such as finding accommodation or financial support, further information about this support can be found below or please do get in touch.  

To access any of the support for care experienced students or for more information or any questions, please do get in touch and we will be happy to help.




How we can help whilst you study with us?

The Student Inclusion Team, based within Student Life and Wellbeing, is a key point of contact for Student Care Leavers within the University whilst you study with us.  The team offers advice on a range of issues and has a dedicated Wellbeing Practitioner who can advise on welfare, financial, academic and health matters and act as a referral point into other support services within the University. Here are the ways we can support you through NU Belong:

You may be eligible for the Care Leaver’s bursary of £2000 from the University’s Access to Learning Fund (Hardship Funding). The bursary is a fast-tracked application to ensure you are financially supported during your studies.

Your named contact within the Student Inclusion Team will send you an application to complete in the Student Portal once you are enrolled at Northumbria. If you are eligible for the Care Leaver’s Bursary, your £2,000 award will be split into 3 payments across the academic year, the amount and dates of these will be confirmed once your application has been approved.

The bursary is available for eligible ‘home’ students under the age of 25 who are studying on a full – time undergraduate course. Eligibility criteria is based on the University definition of care leaver as detailed above. In order to receive the Care Leaver’s Bursary, you will need to provide a letter/ evidence document from, for example, your Social Worker to confirm that you meet the criteria.

Northumbria University also offers Care Leavers university accommodation on a 52-week basis at the same cost for the normal letting period for that residence. Please note that this only applies to university owned accommodation. This will not apply to privately provided accommodation or any of our nominated accommodation outlets.

NU Belong provides a designated named contact within Student Life and Wellbeing for Care Leavers. They can assist you if you are experiencing difficulties, have any concerns and are unsure on where to go for help. Whether you have academic, wellbeing or personal concerns, your designated contact can offer guidance, support and referrals into other University services if required. Our aim is to ensure that our students receive the right advice and support from the right people when needed.

Your designated contact from the Student Inclusion Team will also contact you once a term as a commitment to offering the opportunity for a 1 -1 appointment. These are not mandatory but 1 – 1 time can be beneficial for students to discuss any specific worries or concerns, an opportunity to reflect or set future goals, or as an opportunity to simply chat through how you are getting along.

NU Belong will promote opportunities, initiatives and events aimed at enhancing your student experience, engagement and empowering you towards success. Students are able to agree to receive communications on these from the Student Inclusion Team as part of the online enrolment but can also opt-in at any point.



How to Contact Us:

Current students can enquire via their Student Portal. If you are not a current student and you would like to contact us please use this form and we'll be in touch 

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