Care Leavers - funding

Plan your finances

It's important that you know how you'll finance yourself through your studies. As a care leaver there are a number of additional financing options open to you. There is information on this page about:

  • Unite Foundation scholarship
  • Local authority support
  • Student Finance England
  • University of Plymouth's Financial Support Fund (FSF).
  • Mayflower Award
  • £200 welcome voucher

Visit the funding webpages.

Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme


What is the Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme?

The Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme at Plymouth offers successful scholars three separate years (365 days per year) of free accommodation in a designated Unite students property.

Am I eligible?

The principle scheme criteria is that you are a care leaver or are estranged from your family.

See the guidance and application form for further information on eligibility criteria.

How do I apply?

Read the guidance notes and complete the application form.

Please ensure you answer all questions and complete all sections of the form. The questions on the form are designed to establish your financial and academic circumstances as clearly as possible. You can complete the form and email it to careleavers@plymouth.ac.uk together with copies of your supporting documents.

Alternatively, you may print out the form, complete it and then post it to us together with supporting documentation. Please sent it to: Care Leavers Service, 4 Portland Mews, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA.

If supporting documents are not supplied with your form, your application will not be considered. In providing such documents, please submit photocopies only, as original cannot be returned.

What is the closing date?

The closing date for applications is now Friday 1 June 2018.

When will I know the outcome of my application?

Provided your application form has been accurately completed and appropriate documentary evidence supplied, you will be notified of the decision by the end of July 2018.

Important notes

  • You should still apply for student accommodation as there is no guarantee that you will be awarded a Unite Scholarship.
  • We recommend that you apply for Student Finance England/Wales funding as soon as possible. If you are a care leaver, are estranged from your parents or currently housed in a Foyer property or similar housing young homeless people, it is important to let SFE/SFW know this.
  • If you are financially independent (i.e. not reliant on parents/guardians or anyone else for money) then you are able to declare yourself as ‘independent’ to SFE/SFW. Find out more from the StandAlone or Student Loans Company websites.
  • Please ensure that you have given Student Finance England/Student Finance Wales ‘consent to share’ your financial information with University of Plymouth as this affects how quickly scholarships and bursaries are paid to you.
  • What you write in your personal statement will be taken into account during the shortlisting process so please ensure that you give a full and informative description of why you are applying for this scholarship.

Local Authority support

If you're a care leaver entering higher education on or after 1 September 2008, and you're starting a course before your 25th birthday, you may be entitled to a non-taxable £2,000 bursary from your local authority.

In England, local authorities have a duty to pay the bursary if you're a care leaver pursuing a course of higher education according to your pathway plan. The study can be either full or part time. 

You're entitled to this support if you're a care leaver up to the age of 21. If you're over 21 but under 25 you could also be entitled, if on reaching the age of 21, you're still being helped by your local authority with an agreed programme of education or training.

This is not part of the student finance package provided by Student Finance England and it's disregarded when calculating entitlement to student grants and loans. Any care leaver bursaries available from universities are in addition to local authority support.

To apply, you should contact your pathway planner at your local authority. Or we can ask on your behalf. You should ask about the bursary and also whether there is any additional support for care leavers from your local authority. If you're eligible, make sure you have this agreed in writing as soon as possible. We can help if you need support with this.

For more information on what each Local Authority provides to care leavers progressing to higher education take a look at our local authority support information and this flow chart from the National Care Leavers Association is useful to check whether you are eligible.

Student Finance England

You're eligible for support from the government via Student Finance England (SFE). This could include a: 

  • tuition fee loan
  • maintenance loan

Visit www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance to apply online as soon as possible.

As a care leaver, you should be assessed as an independent student. Your parents’ or carers’ finances should not be assessed, even if you live with them. You'll need to state that you're a care leaver, and therefore an independent student, on your student finance application and provide the relevant evidence of your status. This care leaver factsheet from SFE tells you more about the support that you may be entitled to.

By providing this evidence, you'll be assessed for the maintenance loan. As an independent student, only the income of any partner you live with will be considered when assessing how much maintenance loan you're entitled to. Contact us if you're unsure whose income should be assessed, or have any problems or concerns with your student finance.

Plymouth University's Financial Support Fund (FSF)

This fund is open to you if you're suffering significant hardship through no fault of your own. Any money awarded is non repayable and applications are accepted from 1 October.

To find out more and apply visit the Financial Support Fund (FSF) page. We're happy to help you fill in the application form – just contact us.

£200 Welcome voucher

£200 Wilko voucher – available to all eligible students (subject to evidence) to help with the cost of setting up at University. This voucher is for all eligible students at their first meeting with a member of the team.

Am I eligible?

Once we have received evidence and approved the relevant evidence you will receive your voucher. This voucher is only available to new first year students on a undergraduate course.

How do I apply

You do not need to apply you will receive an email inviting you to meet with a member of the team, which you will need to attend in order to receive the voucher.

Students based at other sites

If you're a Plymouth University student at Peninsula Allied Health Centre (PAHC) at Marjon, Somerset College in Taunton, or the Knowledge Spa in Truro you can get in touch with us by using the Plymouth contact details. 

We may be able to offer a face-to-face appointment at your place of study.