Care experienced students

We're committed to providing the support you need during your time at Manchester.


Key Information

  • We offer support to care leaver and care experienced students. A care leaver is generally someone who has been in the care of their local authority for a period of 13 weeks or more around their 16th birthday. Care experienced refers to anyone who has been in care at any stage of their life, no matter how short a period.
  • This page and the linked documents outlines the support we offer to current students. 

Advice for care leavers during and after Covid-19 from the Department for Education and the Care Leaver Covenant 

  • We recognise that some care experienced students may face different and/or multiple hurdles during their time at university and we want to offer you as much support as possible. This is why our start of year registration form asks whether you have been in care.
  • We understand that some students prefer to have a fresh start and might not want to be ‘labelled’ as care experienced. However, only your named contacts will know unless you want us to tell anyone else. It is up to you how much or how little contact you want from us. We will regularly keep in touch if this works for you, or we will just occasionally email you to tell you about any support or new opportunities, or alternatively you can opt out of contact from us altogether – but we hope you don’t make this decision as we are very friendly!

Throughout your studies you will always have a named contact from the Student Support Team. If you are a current student this will either be Hannah Armstrong or Ailsa Skelly who you can reach on If you are a prospective student, your named contact before you arrive is Emma Lewis-Kalubowila who you can reach on

Hannah and Ailsa both do the same role, so you can speak to either one of them if your assigned contact is unavailable. They can:

  • Help you navigate and access university support services such as the Careers Service, Counselling and Mental Health Service, your School Support Office and the Disability Advisory and Support Centre.
  • Help you with things like accommodation, finances and settling in to university.
  • Provide a listening ear and are available for meetings whenever you would like to talk to someone.
  • Meet with you when you start at Manchester.
  • Arrange for someone to help you move in to your accommodation.
  • Keep you updated with news and opportunities.
  • Put you in touch with other estranged students at the university, if you would like this.


                Emma                            Hannah                       Ailsa


If you are a Care Leaver, you will be classed as an independent s‌tudent when applying for Student Finance, which could mean that you will receive the maximum tuition fee and maintenance loan. As a Care Leaver, you should also be receiving financial support from your Local Authority's Leaving Care Team to come to university. If you need any help sorting this out please email us at You might also be eligible for:

  • The Manchester Bursary: we will use the information you provide to Student Finance to allocate The Manchester Bursary. As an independent student you will receive £2,000 each year for the duration of your undergraduate course.
  • The Undergraduate Access Scholarship: if you are under the age of 25 and have been in public care for a minimum of three months since the age of 11 you will receive £1,000 each year for the duration of your undergraduate course.
  • Living Cost Support Fund: care experienced students are a priority group for the University’s Living Cost Support Fund, so if you experience any financial difficulties during your studies you can make an application to the fund for financial support.
  • Budgeting Advice: you can speak to someone from the Student Support Team for budgeting advice specific to you and your circumstances. 
  • The University Accommodation Office can provide year round flexible accommodation for 52 weeks in University Halls. This can be for the duration of your course if you wish, or just for your first year and/or second year of study. A benefit of staying in University halls is that no guarantor is required, and as a care experienced student we will also be able to organise you booking your room without a deposit.
  • After your first year you may decide to rent private accommodation. The University is partnered with Manchester Student Homes who can check the legality of contracts and can provide a list of accredited student accommodation providers and landlords.


  • Within the Careers Service you have a named Careers Consultant, Caroline Everson (, who you can see throughout your time at Manchester. Caroline can help you to explore work experience opportunities (including our work experience bursary that you are likely to be eligible for) and other activities available to make the most of your time at Manchester. She is also on hand to discuss careers that might suit you, how to apply for jobs, updating your CV and anything else relating to your plans for the future. 

  • As a care experienced student you will also be offered paid work at the University as a Student Ambassador. The Student Ambassador role is a flexible, part time position where you will be an ambassador for the University and a role model for prospective students. Whilst this is a great opportunity to earn some money, it will also help you to develop some great skills, for example around communication, teamwork and social and cultural awareness.
  • As a student at Manchester you also have access to our wider support offering that includes both pastoral and academic support, and Hannah and Ailsa can help you to navigate this support. For course support you can speak to your assigned Academic Advisor, you can also access the University’s study skills programme My Learning Essentials and you can also use the University's Peer Support offering.
  • The Care Leavers Foundation  - provide support, encouragement and financial assistance to care leavers. They also run National Care Leavers' Week which aims to highlight the needs of Care Leavers, and can be a great campaign to get involved with. 
  • Become - offer support to young care leavers, and run a Care Advice Line should you need support or advice. Their website also contains a number of support factsheets specific to care leavers that you may find useful.
  • Buttle UK - provides grants to young people in the UK, often when there is no other source of help available to them. One particular grant that might be available is the Students and Trainees Programme. The Student and Trainee Grants programme awards financial support to young people (aged 16-20), who receive no family support to attend education. There is particular criteria and eligibility for this programme, so please ensure you check this first.
  • Manchester Rising Stars Fund - supports ambitious, talented 16 to 24 year olds to achieve their potential - by funding vital equipment, training and resources to enable them take their next steps to success in Work, Qualifications or Entrepreneurship, via grants of up to £5,000.