Young people from a care experience background

The University of Manchester is committed to supporting young people who are care experienced to succeed in higher education.

If you’re care experienced we can offer support to make the transition to university smooth and straightforward. We can help you with your application and to access support and resources both before you arrive and while you’re here, including access to accommodation for a calendar year in our halls of residence. Tick the box on your UCAS form and email us at

The Who Cares? Trust has put together Propel, a website that brings together information from UK universities and provides general information on higher education, as well as information about what each university provides to care leavers. Visit the Propel website.

Our programmes – for prospective students

The University's support includes working with young people in secondary schools to raise awareness of higher education and partnering with organisations such as local authorities to provide advice and guidance for young people who are care experienced.

The Greater Manchester Care Leaver Awards: Annually in October, to tie in with Care Leavers Week.

The annual Greater Manchester Care Leaver Awards aim to celebrate and reward the achievements and successes of care leavers from across Greater Manchester. They are hosted at the Royal Northern College of Music and are delivered collaboratively with Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Bolton and the University of Salford, as part of the Greater Manchester Higher network.

Success4Life: Autumn term (Oct–Dec)  

Success4Life is a nine-week programme, delivered in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, which brings looked-after children together to take part in numerous interactive sessions in a university environment.

The sessions provide the learners with the opportunity to improve their confidence and communication skills while raising their awareness of higher education. University staff and student ambassadors work closely with young people to build a meaningful and supportive relationship. The sessions end with a graduation, where teachers, social workers and carers are invited to celebrate the learner’s journey and success on the programme. 

Students who recently took part in Success4Life gave the following feedback:

“I think the project is very important for children in care because they help you to be more confident and I am much happier that I met other people in the same situation.”

“I would come again if I could, don’t be nervous; they treat you like a family.”

“It is very important for kids in care to learn what I have learnt: how to socialise, skills and what the uni has to offer.”

Read an article about the Success4Life Project and the wider work we do with looked-after children.

Step up to uni: Thursday, 25 April 2019

This is a VIP open day hosted by The University of Salford for individuals with a care experience background who are interested in applying to higher education. The event aims to show these students the pastoral and financial support available from universities and local authorities. The care experienced learners are given the opportunity to interact with current care experienced university students, who are able to share their experiences and answer any questions that the students have.

Bespoke campus visits

We offer flexible and bespoke campus visits for care experienced individuals who express an interest in a particular degree course or career, with the aim of showing these individuals how university can be a part of their journey to realising an ambition.

Support workers who attended bespoke campus visits gave the following feedback:

“Thank you for the brilliant day. The girls absolutely loved it and it has definitely opened their eyes to what is possible. Everyone was so lovely to the girls and apparently they were talking about it non-stop when they got home. Your ambassadors are amazing.”

“It left her feeling enthused about university and was a very positive day, particularly because of the care leaver ambassadors who showed us around.”

For further information on bespoke visits please email:

Our programmes – for current students

On-course support

The University provides support for care leavers once they arrive on the campus. This includes undergraduate access scholarships of £1,000 a year for students under the age of 25 who have been in care.

You can find out more about this scholarship, as well as the Manchester Bursary – which many care leavers are eligible for, by visiting the student finance section of our website.  

The University also provides students with a named student support contact that can provide one-to-one advice and guidance on making the most of the opportunities available at the University. You can find out more about this on-course support by visiting our web pages for current care leaver students

Student ambassadors

The University of Manchester now has a team of care leaver ambassadors who act as excellent role models, not only for the general widening participation work we do at the University, but particularly on the projects that we run with looked-after young people. It is a great opportunity for these individuals to have access to flexible, paid, part-time work, while also being able to meet other university students and prospective students.

Current care leaver student ambassadors said the following:

“Being a care leaver ambassador has truly been fulfilling. I feel proud to represent care leavers at University and feel like I can make an impact on those who are under care and are looking to go to university.”

“I have enjoyed working at the events this past year as I feel that my participation and help can make such a difference, even in the slightest way, to someone who is visiting, whether they are young persons in care, care workers or any persons dealing with people in care.”

Our programmes – for key influencers

The University of Manchester also delivers events that target adults who influence the lives of young people in or leaving care, to increase their knowledge and understanding of university. During 2016/17 we were able to engage with 100 key influencers to young people in or leaving care.

Supporting the Supporters – Wednesday, 6 February 2019

This event works with the key influencers in the lives of learners from a care experienced background. This includes foster parents, social workers and designated teachers who are invited to hear from our care leaver student ambassadors and are provided with updates about the support offered by universities for care leavers, and information on university applications and student finance.

The Supporting the Supporters 2016 event was attended by 54 key influencers and the following feedback was provided by attendees:

“97% of attendees stated that they had gained a better understanding of student finance, and 94% were more confident in talking to their young person about student finance.”

“97% learnt more about what students need to do to successfully progress to university.”

“97% have learnt more about the support facilities available at the University for the young people/person they care for/work with.”

A care leaver advisor stated:

“We all know that care experienced young people are under-represented when it comes to getting a place at university, and the ‘Supporting the Supporters’ conference was a great opportunity to hear how this issue is being addressed in Greater Manchester.”

Further information can be found about this event on the GMHigher webpages

Northern England Care Leaver Activities and Student Support (NorthCLASS)

The University of Manchester is a member of NorthCLASS, a forum for staff in higher education in northern England which provides outreach programmes and support to care leavers.

In conjunction with NorthCLASS, we have compiled a document to support those working with looked-after children and care leavers, including key workers, social workers, leaving care teams, teachers and many others.

View the NorthCLASS document.

National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL)

The University of Manchester is also a proud member of NNECL, an organisation established in 2013 to support the progression and success of care leavers in education. 

The NNECL website provides a list of activities run by universities across England for care leavers that can be searched by region, age group or institution. To see what events your looked-after children and care leavers can get involved with, visit the NNECL website.