4 students walking along a misty beach
If you're a looked after young person or a care leaver considering applying to University of Plymouth, we aim to help make the process as clear and simple as possible for you.
We know that the journey to higher education is exciting but it can be challenging. We want to raise awareness of the range of courses and careers available, raise aspiration and motivation to attend university, provide support and signposting for potential students and those that are going through the University of Plymouth application process. We can support the transition of care experienced students into life at the University of Plymouth.
We've previously been awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark in recognition of the ‘exemplary level of support’ we provide to all our students.
A care leaver is a young person who:
  • has been in the care of, or been given accommodation by, their Local Authority (LA) for a period of at least 13 weeks before the age of 16
  • has not reconciled with their parents between leaving care and starting their course

Things to know, do and look at before you get here

Declare your care leaver status on your UCAS application form by answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘have you ever been in care?’. This is the first step to unlocking the support that is available to you. If you are not applying via UCAS, please email us at studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk
Declare to Student Finance England (SFE) that you’re a care leaver, and an independent. This may increase the amount of funding you will be eligible for.

Let Student Accommodation Services know that you’re a care leaver.  You're guaranteed accommodation on campus for 365 days of the year throughout your course. To access this, please book accommodation in line with the published guarantee deadline and ensure you’re eligible under the terms and conditions. 
Explore our bursaries and support funds. There may be extra funding options available you. 

Find out about bursaries from your Local Authority, we recommend contacting them to find out more. Coram Voice is also useful to check what you are eligible for.

Visit the University on one of our Taster days.  They are a great opportunity to get a fun and interesting insight into student life, meet current students and attend taster sessions from various subject areas. 
Try the Student shadowing scheme. Gain a first-hand insight into university life through an opportunity to shadow a student.
Come on a campus tour. Our in-person campus tours cover the whole campus and provide an opportunity to ask questions and find out what financial and other support is available to you.
Explore the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers resources. They provide higher education activities and resources for care leavers, children in care and those who support them.

Once you’re here

Student Services - we offer you an initial meeting at the start of the academic year and a follow up meeting to ensure that all the internal and external support you need is in place.  
Academic – we will support you with course-related issues, including liaising with your academic department and course tutors
Skills for life – you'll have access exciting opportunities to make the most of university life including student ambassador work, skills building events and employer mentoring.
Summer support – we'll help you to find summer accommodation.
Graduation – you'll be given a free graduation ticket and academic robes.

Mayflower Award (University of Plymouth’s Access Bursary)

The University of Plymouth is proud to offer students a life-changing, transformative experience while they learn and research. We also know that embarking on such an exciting experience can be daunting and that students from particular groups may face additional difficulty in accessing higher education.
To support the University’s ambitions around widening participation, we are pleased to offer financial support in the form of an undergraduate bursary to care leavers, students who are estranged from their families and young adult carers. 
A group of students walking across Plymouth campus near Drakes Place and the Reservoir Cafe


We want to make our service accessible to all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. If there are any barriers to you using the service, please contact us and we'll be happy to make alternative arrangements or adjustments wherever possible to accommodate your needs.
Physical access
Initial and follow up meetings with care leavers are usually held in the Student Hub (based in the Charles Seale-Hayne Library) or 3 Portland Mews. There is wheelchair access to the ground floor of both of these buildings, a waiting area, consulting rooms and adapted toilet facilities.
If you'd like an appointment and need it to be in a ground floor room, please contact us in advance and we'll arrange this for you. If required, we can arrange parking for disabled students in a bay immediately outside the building.
Written materials
All our service publicity can be produced in different formats on request.

Listening Works

A new national support line for Care Leavers, provided by Family Action.

Leaving care can be a difficult and challenging time. Our support line is here for you seven days a week 6pm to midnight if you need:

  • A listening ear
  • A friendly voice
  • A chance to talk to someone who won't judge you
  • Signposting to useful resources: what support is out there and how to get it

Telephone: 0808 802 0222
Text message: 07860 065 169
Live web chat: www.family-action.org.uk/ListeningWorks

Listening Works for Care Leavers
Student Hub

Students based at other sites

If you're a University of Plymouth student based on our North Campus, Somerset College in Taunton, or the Knowledge Spa in Truro, please get in touch with us at studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk. We may be able to offer a face-to-face appointment at your place of study.