At the University of Cumbria, we want to ensure that all young care leavers who want to are able to access higher education, and that they can participate effectively in all areas of University life.

Award Winning Support

We are incredibly proud to have been awarded the prestigious Buttle UK Quality Mark in recognition of our commitment to young people in and leaving care. The charity only awards the Quality Mark to colleges and universities which commit to support young people who have been in care, to access further and higher education and successfully complete their studies and achieve their ambitions. 

The work we do for care leavers has also gone on to win the National Education Opportunities Network Access Initiative of the Year in 2015 and the Educate the North Access Award in 2016.

Are you a Young Care Leaver?

The level of support young people receive depends on their status as a Care Leaver. The following are the defined status that the University of Cumbria will support.

Eligible child - A child aged 16 and 17 who have been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and who are still looked after.

Relevant child - A child aged 16 and 17 who have been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and who have already left care. 

Former relevant child- A young person over 18 who was previously ‘eligible’ or ‘relevant’. Local authorities support this group at least until age 21 or until 25 if in education or training.

Qualifying child- Any young person under 21 (or 24 if in education or training) who ceases to be looked after or accommodated in a variety of other settings, or privately fostered, after the age of 16. This also includes young people who are under a special guardianship order. 

Remember in order for the University of Cumbria to know you are a care leaver you need to tick the box on your UCAS application to let us know that you have been in care.

We also request that you evidence that you have spent time in care. This can be an email or letter from a social worker or a registered foster carer stating your status as a care leaver. Once again this needs to be sent to Karianne Robinson at karianne.robinson@cumbria.ac.uk.

The university may still support you if you do not fall into one of these categories. Please contact Karianne Robinson for more information.

 

What Support Can We Offer to Young Care Leavers?

The University of Cumbria will offer levels of support to all defined care leavers.

Dedicated contacts for care leavers at the University of Cumbria

Pre-Entry: karianne.robinson@cumbria.ac.uk (based at Carlisle, Fusehill Street Campus)

Post-Entry: melanie.bakey@cumbria.ac.uk (based at Lancaster Campus)

Our two designated care leavers contacts can work with you offering any guidance and support you may feel you need throughout your studies. Read one of our care leaver case studies.

* To maximise their chances of being allocated a Cumbria Bursary all new students should ensure that their Student Finance England (or devolved nation equivalent funding body) application for a means-tested Maintenance Grant has been submitted before the end of July and that they checked the box ‘I give consent to share my details for the purposes of bursary allocation’ as allocations are made on the basis of completed household income assessments provided by Student Finance England to the University on the 1st September.

Funded Transport for Applicant visit days and Interviews

As a young care leaver the University of Cumbria wants to support you to attend our Applicant Visit Days and also (if applicable) your interview with us. We can reimburse your travel to and from the university campus and all we need to see is proof of travel. When you are invited to an Applicant Visit Day we will be in touch to remind you about the funded transport. When you are invited to your interview you will see a paragraph on your invite to interview letter about how to get in touch about funding. If you have any questions or queries please contact our dedicated pre-entry contact Karianne Robinson.

Student Finance

Information for independent students and support for young care leavers is available from Student Finance England and additional information on independent status from Stand Alone.

Please also visit our own Fees and Finance page for information on scholarships and bursaries as well as useful information from our Money Doctors. Young care leavers who declare their status may have increased priority in being allocated a Cumbria Bursary*. Additionally, as a young care leaver you will be offered a pre-entry finance meeting to discuss extra funds you may be eligible for, budgeting techniques and any other enquiries or questions you may have.

During induction week you will be introduced to staff from Library and Student Services (LiSS). LiSS offers 24 hour access to online resources and our huge range of e-resources so that you can find support and academic resources even when you’re off campus. Face-to-face support and workshops are also available.

Additional support services are provided for disabled students, which includes students with learning difficulties (such as dyslexia).

Health and Wellbeing

The university offers confidential support and advice in a number of ways:

Find out more

Schools, Colleges and Community Groups

We work with schools and colleges across Cumbria and Lancaster and are more than happy to come into schools or community groups to offer advice and guidance to young care leavers thinking about entering HE.

We can also attend foster carer training to ensure that foster parents have the knowledge and resources to help foster children when they start to apply for HE places.