Care Leavers

We are committed to ensuring all care leavers at the University are given the necessary resources to achieve whilst studying with us. We understand that there are many barriers and challenges you will be facing which is why we have a range of services to support you during your time at Exeter.


What is a care leaver?

The University of Exeter follows the definition of Care Leaver used in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000; we define a care leaver as a young people (up to the age of 25) who have been looked after by the local authority for more than 13 weeks since they were 14, including some time at age 16 or 17. 

We are defining a student with care experience as anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care or looked after at home with a supervision requirement.

Can I receive support in my application to Exeter University?

If you indicate on your UCAS application that you’re a Care Leaver, you’ll be contacted for further information to help us establish if you meet the criteria for Care Leavers as defined in the  Children (Leaving care) Act 2000.

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria to be considered a Care Leaver, you may not be eligible for the full financial support package (see below), but you will still be offered pastoral support if you have particular needs or concerns.

I’m just outside the timeline to be considered care experienced, can I get support?

We would encourage you to contact us to talk through your situation and what support we can offer.

Financial support

Fee Waiver

The University of Exeter offers a full fee waiver to students who have been in care starting undergraduate or PGCE courses at the University. If you have identified yourself as someone who’s been in care on your UCAS application, the Admissions team will contact you asking for further information.

Offer Holder Campus Tours

As a care leaver, you will be entitled to a travel bursary of a maximum of £150 to cover the costs of travelling to attend one of our offer holder campus tours.

Care Leavers bursary

The Care Leavers bursary is intended to help with the cost of accommodation during the summer holiday period after your first and subsequent years of student (but not final year). 

We will also support Care Experienced students with pastoral support and will deal with any financial requests on a case-by-case basis.

We understand you may need additional information to help you to make your accommodation choices and we’re happy to discuss individual requirements.

For care leavers in the local area who are holding an offer from the University of Exeter, a support meeting will be arranged to discuss your accommodation options. Once your accommodation needs have been established, the University’s named contact for care leavers will liaise with the Accommodation Office to try and secure appropriate accommodation, including 365-day accommodation should this be required.

To be eligible, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  1. You are a Care Leaver, as defined in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000
  2. You must have started your studies in September 2012 or later
  3. You must be under 25 when you start your course
  4. You must be in receipt of financial support from the university through the Exeter National Scholarship or Access to Exeter Bursary schemes

To apply for this bursary, please contact

Student Maintenance loan

When applying for your Student Finance loan, you will be assessed as an independent student and be assessed on your own household income. This means that you can get the maximum amount of student loan possible. student finance for undergraduates 

We can offer advice about applying as an independent student and provide guidance through this process.

The Access to Exeter Bursary - If you are a full-time undergraduate student with home fee status, and your household income is below £25,000, then you will be eligible to receive the Access to Exeter bursary as long as you have applied for means tested student finance and selected that you are happy for details of your application to be shared with the University.

This bursary is processed automatically and details of the level of bursary, payment dates and more can be found on the University’s webpages here.

If you are assessed as an independent student you will likely have the maximum student loan and will automatically be eligible for the bursary.

Other support 

If you’re defined as care experienced or a care leaver, you will get a range of academic, pastoral and employability support during your time at Exeter.

Designated Member of Staff

The University offers a one-to-one meeting with a designated member of staff for care leavers and care experienced students. They will help with advice and support on all aspects of your student experience. When you join, you will also have the opportunity to attend the Care Experienced support group who meet regularly, giving you the opportunity to talk about your experience at University.

Peer Mentoring

This is an opportunity for you to gain support and guidance from higher year students who have been in the same position as you. Peer Mentors on this programme will be able to guide you on where to go to get the support and guidance you require. Find out more here Peer mentoring 

Can I access employability support?

The Career Zone at the University of Exeter offers a wide variety of programmes, including fully funded internships and mentoring schemes to support your entrance into the workplace. These programmes offer you the flexibility to create your own internship, financially supported by the career zone. For further information please email: or visit Exeter Internships.

What healthcare services are available to me?

It’s important to register with one of the student health centres that you can register or a GP surgery near your accommodation. Our health centres have doctors and nurse practitioners and can help with medical problems as well as those related to university life. You can register with the student health centre online before you get here, or in person when you arrive. Register with a doctor

I still have more questions, where can I get more support?

If you still have any more concerns, please get in touch with our Advice team at or go to our Drop in pages for drop-in session times.


You can visit our housing advice page here to get more information about searching for accomodation, finding flatmates, managing paperwork, moving in, and much more.

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